Why Shopping Small is so Important

Lela Barker

Shop small is more than merely a catch phrase.

When you choose to spend your holiday dollars with a small business, you empower people, families, and communities in ways that Amazon or Target can’t touch. Here’s how…



  • You foster a more sustainable economy. According to the SBA, big businesses have eliminated 4 million jobs since 1990, while small businesses added 8 million jobs within that same time period. Small businesses are more likely to be people-oriented, more likely to be community-oriented, and more likely to support local causes.
  • You support the creation of greater diversity. When you spend money with local, independent businesses, those businesses tend to hire people who represent the demographics of the surrounding community, including historically underserved populations. And it’s not just diversity of people, but a diversity of product, too. Local shops are more likely to carry a varied selection, and local artisans create goods that represent their culture.


  • You build a stronger community. A series of studies by the research firm Civic Economics found that 48 percent of purchases at local independent businesses go right back into the community, compared to less than 14 percent of sales made at chain stores. Supporting small businesses means that the community you call home receives the tax benefits, providing a deeper well of funds for spending on public services like education, libraries, fire protection, road and park improvements.
  • You enjoy better customer service. Small businesses deliver more personable, hands-on, and memorable customer service. They take pride in serving their people and deeply desire to connect with you.


  • You make a positive impact in the lives of others. When you shop small, you create a meaningful difference in the lives of someone whose name you actually know. And they know you, too. As a small business owner for the last 15 years, I can scan a list of customers and tell you which names appear frequently. They’re not order numbers to me, they’re my community of support. For each small business that I serve, your support unlocks countless opportunities. Another child can access music lessons, another teenager can attend college, an adult can get much-needed healthcare, and another family isn’t at the whim of a corporate giant.


This holiday, I invite you to shop small… not just on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, but all season long. And then carry that good energy with you right into 2020 and shop small all year long. In doing so, you support the American dream of independence. You create vibrant, sustainable communities… and that’s the best gift of all.

Need some suggestions? I recently compiled 200+ of my favorite products created by makers and products designers from the Lucky Break community of clients.  I invite you to explore the 2019 Lucky Break Holiday Gift Guide!

About the Author

Lela Barker

Lela Barker hails from the deep-and-dirty south (ATL, represent!), where she spends her days helping makers and product designers navigate the pitfalls of product pricing, brand development, and wholesale strategy. She launched her apothecary brand in 2003 and bootstrapped the hell out of that little business to cultivate a portfolio of 1500+ stockists worldwide, generating $12million in revenue and establishing successful distributorships in the Middle East, EU, Scandinavia, and South Korea. Lela is the keeper of a well-worn passport and the maker of the finest lemon meringue pie you’ve ever put in your mouth.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *