Shopping local during the holiday season impacting small business big time

Pristine Villarreal

‘Tis the season to be shopping.

And at the gardens on El Paseo in Palm Desert, shoppers are spending big bucks at small businesses like Rancho Relaxo.

“It’s easy to shop Amazon,” said local holiday shopper Yvonne Zimmerman. “But when you can come here and get personal touch and find something super unique, why wouldn’t you do it?”

Rancho Relaxo owner Stella Adena says Black Friday this year was the best in store history. Now, she expects those record-breaking sales to carry on throughout this holiday shopping season.

“Just like Santa, our local shoppers are going down the list and checking it twice and really being thoughtful in terms of how they spend their holiday money,” Adena said.

According to the National Retail Federation, holiday spending is expected to reach record levels this year. with consumers predicted to spend an estimated $966.6 billion.

Economic experts say, when consumers shop at local businesses, more of their money stays within the community.

“This is due to the local economic multiplier effect, which suggests that locally-owned businesses tend to recirculate a greater share of every dollar in the local economy, as they are more likely to use local services, hire from within the community, and purchase local goods,” said Qingfang Wang, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Riverside.

This reinvestment leads to a stronger and more resilient local economy.

“When I hear shopping local, I think of all of the people on the food chain that live, breathe, work, and spend money here,” Adena said.

At Rancho Relaxo, customers say shopping locally creates emotional connections that last well beyond the holiday shopping season.

“You can’t get this stuff at Target or Costco,” Zimmerman said. “So, there’s a story behind it.”

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