Reasons to shop small this holiday season in the PA Wilds
When you’re doing your holiday shopping this year, put your money where your mouth is and shop small! When you shop at a locally owned business in the Pennsylvania Wilds, you’re helping to support our rural economy and keep those dollars within the PA Wilds region.
Don’t believe that shopping small makes a difference? Here are eight reasons why!
Stimulate local economic growth (for years to come)
When you purchase at a small business rather than a big box store, more money stays within that local community. In fact, a survey released in 2018 by American Express and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) found that about 67 cents of every dollar spent at a small business remains in the community. Those dollars are often reinvested in the local economy, with those businesses then spending that money at other farms, service providers and companies throughout the region. Your dollar bills will be happy to spend more time in the PA Wilds!
Small businesses shape our Main Streets
What makes your community unique? When you think about the towns in the PA Wilds, you probably fondly recall their Main Streets and all of the storefront and shop windows. The unique character of our towns is often defined by the businesses that call these places home. The economic health of these small businesses also plays a big role in the economic health (and the value) of local homes and properties. It feels nicer to live in a town that is supported by plenty of unique, thriving small businesses!
Small companies give more to non-profits
Although big box companies do donate to non-profit organizations and causes, studies show that small businesses actually give more money to locally run charities than non-local owners. Owners of small businesses see the effects of these non-profits, and they know that even a small donation can mean a lot for their community. According to Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors, small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to local nonprofits and community causes.
Shopping small reduces your carbon footprint
If you can walk to a small, locally owned business in a town’s downtown area, you’re being more environmentally friendly and contributing less to congestion, pollution and habitat loss. Even if you choose to order these products online from a small business, you’ll often find that there is still a reduction in your carbon footprint. The products likely won’t have to be shipped as far. And if you choose a product that was sourced locally in the PA Wilds (such holiday ornaments made from Pennsylvania Wilds wood or a PA Wilds Outdoor Discovery Atlas that was printed on paper from our region), you’re reducing your environmental impact even further by making sure that those products don’t have to be shipped from literally the other side of the planet.
You’ll get one-of-a-kind gifts
By purchasing a holiday gift from an artist, you’ll be sure to find a unique or even one-of-a-kind item for your loved ones! Products from big box stores can be found nearly anywhere. However, a heartfelt gift from a small business can mean so much more. Products from small businesses often have a story to go along with them, and your recipient will be appreciative of your thoughtfulness.
It supports jobs in our PA Wilds communities
Did you know that small businesses are actually the largest employers nationally? According to the U.S. Small Business Association (SBA), small businesses of 500 employees or fewer make up 99.9% of all U.S. businesses and 99.7% of firms with paid employees. When you shop at a business in the PA Wilds, you’ll know for a fact that you’re supporting jobs in this community. You’re giving that small company your support and helping them survive and thrive.
Small businesses offer individualized customer service
A small business often has a dedicated staff that is truly invested in helping their customers. Sometimes the person who rings you up for a product is actually the person who created it! These small business owners and staff are able to thoughtfully and thoroughly answer your questions. They can make recommendations on products, and they are happy to help you resolve issues if something is not what you expected. For them, it’s not just a job… it’s their business, their livelihood and their passion.
Show pride in this place
Whether the PA Wilds is where you grew up, where you moved to later in life, where you once called home, where your friends or family now live, or where you have visited and made memories… shopping at a small business in the PA Wilds is the perfect way of showing your pride in our region. Supporting these entrepreneurs means that people are able to work and live in a place that they love. Spending money here shows your pride and gives support to those businesses that are building the future of the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Want to shop small in the PA Wilds?
Our physical and online stores focus on locally made and value-added products so you can take home a piece of the Pennsylvania Wilds while making a difference! Check out the PA Wilds Conservation Shops at Leonard Harrison State Park (open seasonally) and Kinzua Bridge State Park. You can also shop on our PA Wilds Marketplace online, which offers direct shipping from dozens of artisans running small businesses across the Wilds.
Want a convenient gift that helps support PA Wilds businesses? Nestled within 2+ million acres of public lands, the PA Wilds has many specialty retailers, restaurants, services, and outfitters offering one-of-a-kind experiences. Use the Shop the PA Wilds, gift card at all participating locations across the region — there is truly something for everyone!
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