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How to support local, small businesses for your holiday shopping

In this March 6, 2020 photo, the area near Pike Place Fish Market at the Pike Place Market in Seattle is nearly devoid of root traffic and crowds at the close of the day. The market, which is popular with tourists and locals alike, has seen crowds thin as some workers stay home and work remotely, and some tourists cancel trips over worry about COVID-19. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

While many think of the day after Thanksgiving as the kickoff for the holiday shopping season, small businesses in Washington and across the United States hope shoppers will take part in the annual Small Business Saturday, and prioritize shopping at local businesses throughout the holiday season.

Small Business Saturday was first observed in 2010, created by American Express as a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which mostly benefit large retail and e-commerce giants. It may be more important than ever in 2020 as many mom-and-pop shops are struggling to survive the COVID-19 related closures with more people opting to shop from home, limited online retail options, and reduced capacity limits in stores.

WA Retail Association ‘greatly concerned’ over business restrictions

Washington Retail Association President and CEO Renée Sunde previously said the association is worried about the financial implications the updated rules from Gov. Inslee could have on retailers in the coming months — especially small businesses that have been hanging on by a thread throughout the pandemic, and had been hoping for a prosperous holiday season.

Until there is a relief package from Congress or more substantial financial assistance, Sunde said we all have an important role to play by doing our part to shop small this holiday season.

“All those years when small business folks give back to the community, they support causes, they support nonprofits — now is the time to be giving back to small businesses,” she said. “They need us.”

Here are few easy ways and ongoing campaigns to help shoppers find and support small businesses:

Shop Your Block

“Shop Your Block” connects people to local retail small businesses in Seattle, with a map that allows holiday shoppers to search for retailers by name, neighborhood, or product keywords.

Customers are able to shop online from the comfort of their own homes using the city’s online marketplaces organized by neighborhood, spanning North Seattle to South Seattle.

Find more information and view the map online here. If you own a business, you can find instructions on how to add your business to the map at the same website.

Intentionalist

Started by a Seattle native, Intentionalist is a “local guide to small businesses and the diverse people behind them.” Customers are able to search by business, product, and neighborhood, then can refine those results by community, which includes options like delivery, disability-owned, family-owned, minority-owned, or vegan.

The blog on their website features a few gift guides to get holiday shoppers started with ideas for kids, foodies, bookworms, and more.

Building Black Wealth

Draze, Seattle rapper and frequent fill-in host on KIRO Radio, hosts a series of video discussions that spotlight and celebrate Black-owned businesses in the Seattle area, including one featuring former Seahawks players that KIRO Radio hosted on its Facebook page.

A few of the businesses featured in past discussions — titled “Building Black Wealth” after the namesake of Draze’s first release off his African American album — are Blk Sunflower, Hustle Clean, Empowered Holistic Health, Seattle Sorbets, and Avenue South.

You can find past videos on YouTube here.

Keep it local King County

The “Keep it local King County” social media campaign launched Nov. 23 after $4 million in grants and technical assistance was awarded to more than 600 small businesses in unincorporated King County, according to a release from the King County Executive’s Office.

Shoppers are encouraged to patronize local businesses, including restaurants, bakeries, spas, and retailers while the county continues to follow temporary restrictions on gatherings and retail capacity.

“I urge everyone to patronize restaurants, coffee shops, and other local favorites,” said Executive Dow Constantine. “As I have said before: If this pandemic is symbolized by the medical mask, let our resilience be represented by the take-out box. Our ‘Keep it local campaign’ over the next few weeks will highlight all that you can do to help our local economy and enrich your health and well-being.”

Support Small on Amazon

Amazon’s Black Friday Deals Week is already underway and there will be a Cyber Monday Deals Weekend, but if you do turn to Amazon for your holiday shopping, consider the “Support Small” collections here. Customers can find and save on small business holiday deals from Nov. 26 to Nov. 30.

You can also shop for gifts exclusively from small businesses in the Small Business Gift Guide.

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