Shop Now, Shop Local: 'tis the year to do both

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The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce and Intown Concord are partnering up to inspire shoppers to rethink the holidays in a year of great need. #ShopNowShopLocal

The Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce and Intown Concord are partnering up to inspire shoppers to rethink the holidays in a year of great need.

With the ongoing disruption of a worldwide pandemic, it’s become apparent that the holidays are going to be different this year. Join us in helping to spread an important message during a year of hardship and loss for so many small business owners.

Your support matters. Your dollars, whether they are ones or hundreds, make a difference. And your decision to purchase from a small business has a direct impact on local business owners, employees and their families. It is also a gift that you can readily give to our community in a year of great need.

Shop Now, Shop Local kicked off October 1 and with your help, it will infuse our merchants with foot traffic, online sales and goodwill right on through to 2021.

If you are among the fortunate who have the financial resources to shop this holiday season, please make this the year you support local retailers—many are online if you prefer to shop that way and will even ship your purchases for you! There are gifts for every budget and every local dollar matters—even if your contribution feels small. In fact, shopping small has a significant and positive effect on local communities. An American Express-commissioned 2018 Small Business Economic Impact study found that for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., roughly 67 cents stays in the local community.

Will it take a bit more effort to source gifts from multiple stores? Perhaps. The good news is you have time. Lots of it. Imagine having your shopping, wrapping and shipping all done before November, well ahead of the official holiday season and crowds. With unknowns like the flu, potential COVID-19 surges, instability after the election and/or school shutdowns, being able to focus on traditions instead of errands can bring you peace and joy during these stressful times. We promise that local small business owners, better known as our friends and neighbors, will appreciate your business much more than Jeff Bezos or Doug McMillon ever will.

If you are financially stretched, remember that small, local or handmade gifts are just as thoughtful and there’s no need to rack up credit card debt trying to compensate for cancelled plans or loved ones who may understandably be feeling a bit down. Try a first-time activity with the kids like baking cookies or making ornaments. Teach them how to prepare a treasured family holiday dish or gather pine boughs together to create simple wreaths for your neighbors. The gift of time and shared experiences is something children appreciate. They even may remember this holiday season as one of their favorites down the road!

If you are spending the holidays alone at home when you typically travel to be with family, perhaps this is the year to invest in some new, festive holiday décor—local shops have inspiring displays and fun keepsakes that can change your mindset from stuck at home, to home for the holidays and enjoying it!

Buying local is a twofold gift—one is given to the recipient and the other is given to our community. Help us spread the word about Shop Now, Shop Local by liking and sharing our social media posts (links are up at the top of this web page). Show your support for local merchants by posting photos and messages on social media that tag the business you purchased from (type @ and the business name to tag them) and add hashtags like #ShopNowShopLocal #GiftLocal #TisTheSeason #HolidayCheer #LetsKeepItHere #ConcordNH so others will know that it’s part of a bigger community movement. Not on social media? You don’t need to be to participate—telling others about this important initiative is all it takes.

Both the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce and Intown Concord offer resources that can help you easily connect with area merchants to see what products and services they are offering. Intown Concord will feature deals and hours for downtown Concord stores on their home page and exciting live merchant announcements on their Facebook page. The Greater Concord Chamber has a dedicated shopping web page that features dozens of Capital region retailers. Click on store names to instantly visit their websites or click “quickly find area retailers' contact information using our online Member Directory” to view a convenient list of area stores that includes a business description, contact information, website and social media links and helpful clickable categories like Toys, Jewelry, Lingerie, Ski Shops, Gift Shops, Retail, and Online Shopping, Curbside Pick-Up, Delivery by App't.

Gift cards are another option—easy to mail and a simple choice for someone who enjoys experiences like dining, entertainment or outdoor ventures—view multiple categories using our online Directory for great ideas that sustain small businesses. Not online? Request a printed Membership Directory from the Chamber by calling (603) 224-2508.

The holidays are about thoughtful ways to give. Let’s bid adieu to 2020 with an outpouring of support in any amount for our cherished and very deserving local establishments—Shop Now, Shop Local.

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