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How you can support local independent businesses during the festive season

Christmas is quickly looming, the Christmas adverts are on TV in full force, plenty of shops have switched up their products to festive themed offerings, and there's just 40 days left at the time of me writing this to be precise. And yes I had to look that up.


This year, perhaps more than previous years, how and where you choose to spend you're hard-earned money could be the make or break for many local businesses who've had such a turbulent time since 2020.


So here's why (and more importantly how) you can support independent businesses in your local area during the festive season.


Why you should shop local and support small businesses

Recent research commissioned by Visa (in partnership with the Centre for Economics & Business Research) found that for every £10.00 spent at a local independent business, almost 40% (£3.80) of that money stays in the local area. Help boost your local economy by by making a conscious effort where you can to spend locally.


Shopping and spending money in your local area not only supports business owners, it also supports employment for local people (who are often young and disadvantaged people). Seeing local businesses thrive on the high street encourages other new independent businesses to set up, creating further new jobs in the area.


Independent businesses are more likely (than their chain equivalents) to use local suppliers and collaborate with other local small businesses, which again further retains money in the community. This can also have a positive environmental impact where transportation and distribution distances are reduced considerably between local small businesses and suppliers.


Local independent businesses can offer a better shopping and customer experience than their chain counterparts on the high street. Services and products are often unique and small business owners are more willing to go above and beyond to personalise products or services to suit your needs, as well as adapting quicker to customer feedback.


Having lots of lovely local small businesses creates a unique and characterful town identity, making your town somewhere that people want to come visit (and spend money) and not just another identical chain town as the next one over.


A thriving high street with plenty of local independent businesses is not only great for the local economy but also such a great way to preserve and boost a sense of community between customers and business owners. Be proud and feel good about where you live!


Ways you can support local independent businesses during the festive season

Okay so now you know why it's such a great thing to shop and support local small businesses, here's some ways you can support local independent businesses during the festive period. I'll even throw in some Guildford based suggestions as that's where Studio SK is situated.


Buying Christmas gifts from local small businesses

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to support local independent businesses during the festive period it to buy Christmas gifts from them.


Simon Pure is a local jewellers that designs all it's own pieces, a great luxury gift for that special someone. Design Vintage is a lovely homewares shop where you can get some beautiful Christmas gifts and stocking fillers. Even shops like Record Corner (located at The Boileroom) that you may not directly associate with Christmas gifts is a great place to pick up new and second-hand vinyl for a music lover.


It's also worth seeing what small business or makers Christmas markets are being held over the upcoming weeks in your local area, as these are also a great place to buy unique gifts for someone and support small businesses at the same time.


If you can't make it to the physical shops, or perhaps where you live is lacking in lovely independent businesses, I have no doubt that there are local small businesses you can buy from online to support them financially as well as helping to keep money in your local area.


Find an independent coffee shop for that much needed Christmas shopping break

Let's not lie, doing a full day of Christmas shopping through your local town centre can be both physically and mentally draining, so it's worth planning in a much needed pit-stop at a local independent coffee shop to rest your feet and get a quick energy boost.


Check out this blog post I wrote up about 5 independent coffee shops I highly recommend visiting in Guildford, Surrey. A lot of these coffee shops are also great places to pick up Christmas gifts such as coffee beans and other coffee paraphernalia as stocking fillers.


Or perhaps you've got time to have a tasty lunch at a local independent business

Got more time than just a coffee and could do with a relaxing lunch break from the Christmas shopping chaos? It's always nice to visit a local pub for a cosy lunch (and possibly a pint). Off the top of my head I can think of at least 6 pubs in Guildford town centre that are an easy walking distance from the main High Street and all the lovely shops.


Guildford also has some lovely independent restaurants such as Mexican restaurant Gordo's and Lebanese restaurant Zaitouna Express making for some great lunch options, as well as restaurants with lunch deals such as Tapas restaurant La Casita.


Buying food for the big festive day from local small businesses

Speaking of food, when planning your festive food shopping for Christmas Day (and let's not lie, the week that follows after it too) try and see how much you can actually purchase at local small businesses instead of the big supermarkets.


Can you order and buy the big bird, beef wellington and even pigs in blankets from a local butchers like The Guildford Butchery? Can you buy vegetables for your Christmas lunch at a local green grocers or from a local market like Guildford's North Street market (which takes place every Friday and Saturday)?


The last date for Guildford's farmer's market is Tuesday 20th December 2022 where you can pick up all sorts of festive food essentials as well as some last minute food-related gifts. If you're someone who's into all the Italian Christmas classics such as pandoro and panettone (plus lots of other delicious Italian treats) make sure to head to Dolce & Salato in Guildford.


You could even go that extra mile and see what food and other home essentials you can buy from a zero waste shop like Solar Sisters for the festive break.


Catch up with family and friends at an independently owned bar or pub

The bit that I think a lot people enjoy about Christmas and the festive break: socialising with friends and family. So why not plan to meet up at an independently owned pub or bar! These types of venues often stock independent brands and other small business products so it's a win-win for all involved.


Corkage in Guildford is a lovely little wine shop and bar where you can enjoy a glass (or two) of wine with family and simultaneously pick up a bottle to drink on Christmas Day. There's also craft beer and gin bar Kerrera to enjoy with friends, and again you can buy items to take home and enjoy over the festive period like New Year's Eve with family and friends.


Planning your work Christmas drinks or meal at a local small business

If you're organised you can arrange for you work Christmas drinks at a local small business. The Fallen Angel has plenty of Christmas themed cabaret events, drag nights and bottomless brunches throughout December.


Why not book in a cocktails masterclass somewhere like Komo in Guildford. Even a last minute drink or a spur of the moment evening out with work friends can be enjoyed in a lovely independently owned venue like Tattam's that has a unique cocktails menu and cosy atmosphere to enjoy.


A lot of independent businesses also have private spaces to hire if you're a large group or planning a works Christmas meal.


 

Hopefully today's blog post has given you some very easy ideas on how you can support independent businesses in your local area during the fast approaching festive season.


A lot of the suggestions I've given are things you can actually do all year round that support local small businesses to see them and the community in your local area thrive.


(Cover image: Dean Xavier via Unsplash)


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