In case you didn’t already hear the non-stop chattering from television coverage of Black Friday mania or the politics of labor in the saga that is Wal-Mart’s continued attempts to sell people low grade products for as cheap as possible, it’s CHRISTMAS!
Now forget every parable, christmas story, holiday movie, and fond memory you have from childhood and go stand in a 3 hour line to purchase a product for marginally cheaper at the big chain… or better yet remove all human interaction all together (people, who needs ‘em) and log onto the one stop shop Amazon. Orwell’s nightmare didn’t need to come from a government mandate, it just needed the caveat of buy one get one and the free market would deliver.
Alright, perhaps this distopic image of retail is a bit exaggerated, and it is likely somewhat hypocritical for someone who writes a blog named after the largest mall in the mid-Atlantic. Christmas time can be tough. Above and beyond the regular costs of life, which have continued to rise during this anemic recession, you now have to use up much of your disposable income to spread the holiday cheer. Of course you want that money to go as far as possible, and that inevitably leads you to the best deals at stores like those mentioned above. There is nothing wrong with this, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.
When you make the choice to purchase at a national franchise you essentially relocate funds from one region to another region. Only 43 cents on the dollar recirculates to our region when you shop at a big box (often less). Shopping online (atleast at the traditional warehouse retailers) essentially returns pennies on the dollar. Now, all of that does still help the overall economy, and that is great but if we spend just a portion of our holiday spending at local non-franchise stores we can make big impacts right in our backyards. Returning to strong town values and community can’t be mandated from central planning, it has to be a conscious effort from millions of people to take a portion of the holiday spirit and send it to mom and pops who have been hurt the most by the stagnant economy.
Supporting small businesses has the benefit of having that dollar more likely to return to you, supporting your neighbors, and providing unique products that are also often locally sourced, american made, or deemed “not cheap enough” by the big box stores.
We ran across the 3/50 Project which is a great concept. Try to spend just $50 locally this Holiday Season and spread the true meaning of Christmas beyond your normal circle of family and friends. Here are some stores that the 3/50 Project notes are local non-franchises;
Tell us your favorite local stores to help others know about them this holiday season
A Show of Hands
Already Read Used Books
Apple Seed Maternity and Baby Boutique
Contessa’s Garden and Gift
Eclectic Nature Gift and Garden Center
Holly, Woods and Vines
Hooray For Books! Children’s Bookstore
Plantation FlowersandGifts Inc.
Red Barn Mercantile
Spill the Beans Organic Coffee and Chat House
The Christmas Attic
The Little Monogram Shop
The Shoe Hive
Whistle Stop Hobbies
Color Wheel Paint Center
Fair Trade Winds
Judy Ryan of Fairfax
Red Dog Spa and Boutique
The Happy Woof
The Nest Egg
Twinbrook Card, Gifts and Jeweler
University Mall Theatres
Economy Party Supplies and Costumes
Health e-Lunch Kids, Inc.
Stifel and Capra
Kat Starcher Photography
Prince William County-Greater Manassas Chamber of Commerce
The Yoga Connection
Fashion Exchange Consignment Boutique
Flowers and Plants, etc.
The Carpet Yard
Angela’s Happy Stamper
Curtsies and Petals
The Dandelion Patch
Valerianne of D.C. LLC