How To Shop Local in the City
There are so many reasons to shop locally. Small business owners are the backbone of your neighborhood, whether you realize it or not. By investing in them, you’re investing in your community—an important support system when you’re living alone or with roommates in the city. However, it can be hard to find local shops in the city, especially ones that are as handy as the big-box stores. Don’t cave to the pressure of convenience. Take the time to find locally owned businesses in your city and give them your hard-earned dough by following these tips:
- Go online. Shopping local doesn’t actually require you to get out of your yoga pants. You can shop local from the comfort of your couch with only your laptop, tablet, or smartphone in hand. Etsy’s new local tool connects you to crafters and artists in your area. So the next time you need to buy a gift for a birthday bash or bachelorette party, see what you can find within a few miles’ radius of your apartment. The tool also highlights local events where some Etsy sellers will be offering up their goods in person if you’re feeling extra motivated. Many cities have Etsy Local Facebook groups, as well.
- Stalk social media. Okay, yes, it can be annoying when friends flood your feed with photos of lattes all day. But they’re actually doing you a service, in a way. You can cyberstalk your way to a better idea of what the neighborhood has to offer. Jot down geotags on Instagrams, tweets, or Facebook posts if you see a scone or a salad that looks appealing. Track down the local spots where friends found them and check items off your list as you go.
- Check out Yelp and Google reviews. If your social media life is lacking, you can always trust strangers to give honest (sometimes brutally honest) reviews of local watering holes. Check out Yelp or Google reviews for highly rated coffee shops, secondhand boutiques, and other local businesses in your area. You can start as broad as search terms like “small business” or narrow it down immediately to “artisan coffee.”
- Ask neighbors. You can always go old-school and actually chat, face to face, with other people in your neighborhood. Seek out parents or older neighbors who seem like they’ve lived in the area for a while. They’ll likely have some pointers about the best spots to shop in the nearby blocks.
- Go to the farmers market or flea market. There are two places in the city that you can always count on to have local goods: the farmers market and the flea market. Every major city in the nation now offers farmers markets, at least in the warmer months, so keep an eye on Facebook for events regarding upcoming markets. Most cities also hold flea markets throughout the year or in warehouses year-round. If you live in one of the young, trendy neighborhoods, you’ll probably hear about the flea markets from friends or via flyers if you haven’t already spotted upcoming ones online.
Why and How to Shop Local on Small Business Saturday and Beyond [Huffington Post]