Downtown businesses encourage holiday shoppers to think local

Posted at 7:45 PM, Nov 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-24 21:45:31-05

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, the holiday shopping season is underway. Locally-owned businesses across the Treasure Valley are gearing up for "Small Business Saturday," as well. 

"In downtown Boise, we have, really, the largest collection of small local businesses that you'll find anywhere in the valley," said Lynn Hightower, executive director of the Downtown Business Association. "So if you want to shop small, if you want to support local, downtown Boise is a great option."

Take Idaho Made, for example -- it's a collective of about 70 artists and crafters from across Idaho selling only local, handmade products. 

"We have so many customers, returning customers, come back just because they love to support their neighbors and their friends and their family, and watch their hobbies expand into full-time jobs," said Molly Seaman, co-owner of Idaho Made. 

From clothing to artwork and everything in between, every dollar spent at the store goes back to the artist making the product.

"When you shop local, you're not helping the CEO buy the third holiday mansion," Seaman said. "You're helping families put dinner on the table, get sports gear and dance gear and lessons. It's just so important."

Shop local advocates say Small Business Saturday serves as a nice reminder to spend money locally, but the goal is to make small businesses a regular option, year-round. 

"It's a fun day to know that, 'Hey, I'm spending money locally, I'm supporting my neighbors, and I'm brining friends and family together to have good time,' so, you know, it's just a win-win kind of day," Hightower said. 

New data shows consumer confidence appears to be rising this year, and people are willing to spend more money this year. 

The National Retail Federation estimates 164 million Americans will shop this  Thanksgiving weekend.