TWIN FALLS — It's the time of year for people to begin their Christmas shopping. While large corporations are enticing to customers to get what they need or want, people can always find unique items at stores built within the community.
Jennifer Mauk, the Executive Director for Buy Idaho, said, "There's a really big focus right now on shopping local, which makes my job so much fun. People want to know who these local makers are."
As days like Black Friday and Small Business Saturday approach, there is strong encouragement for people to head downtown and check out the local shops because of how valuable customers are for small-town businesses.
Owner of The Brass Monkey, Kindsey Taylor, said, "When you're shopping at The Brass Monkey, you're supporting me and my family... I'm not a trust funder, I don't have a big pile of cash sitting anywhere, so I depend on my customers, and so I really do value, my customers."
Black Friday and Small business Saturday are also important for local business owners because it can be an effective tool for them to assess how the holiday season may pan out.
"It's kind of a good way to gauge if you're busy on those days, it's kind of like, ok we're going to have a busy holiday season, if we're slow you kind of wonder, do we need to pivot," said Taylor."
According to the organization, Buy Idaho, if everyone in the state were to spend $100 at Idaho businesses, it would generate over nine million dollars in tax revenue. This is extremely valuable for the state and business owners, especially during COVID.
Tom Ashenbrener, Owner of Rudy's A Cook's Paradise, said, "The COVID issue makes it even more important. If you're a clothing store and you were closed for one or two months back in April, you're still trying to make up for those lost sales, and such a huge percentage of them occur in November and December."
Purchasing from stores within your community benefits the town's economy because It can help create jobs, support school districts, maintain roadways, improve healthcare, and encourage other retailers to come to the area and create further growth.
Owners of these local stores are your neighbors, and this helps solidify that connection with residents. Local stores also tend to have distinctive products and can provide memorable experiences.
"Don't forget your local downtown, whatever community you live in because it is a sense of place for the community, and you'd be surprised of the values that are still in independent stores and definitely the selection, the breadth of merchandise," said Ashenbrener