Shop small this holiday season in Houston.

The holidays are upon us, and it’s time to think about where to buy gifts for your loved ones. Whether you’re buying a handmade candle at a local boutique or grabbing a few vinyl records at your favorite independent record store, American Express is urging consumers to shop small– not only for Small Business Saturday (November 27), but throughout the holiday season.

While the pandemic has impacted many aspects of life, small business owners face even more obstacles such as labor shortages, financial instability and supply chain issues. Shopping small throughout the holidays can have a profound impact on small businesses and, according to the American Express Shop Small Impact study, can directly contribute $695B to the small business economy.

More On the Study:

  • 56% of small businesses surveyed say that this year’s Small Business Saturday is more critical than ever for their business and 78% say holiday sales will impact their ability to keep their doors open in 2022.
  • 80% of consumers say they are likely to shop small this holiday season. Small businesses owners are hopeful that their communities will show up for them and 89% of consumers say it is important to support the small businesses in their community because of the impact the pandemic has had on them.
  • With over half of small business owners reporting inventory and supply chain difficulties, 45% say they can get what they need but it is taking longer, while another 10% report they are struggling to maintain adequate inventory for their customers.    

American Express Shop Small Impact Study

What Local Business Owners Have to Say:

Alicia Gray, founder and owner of Genara – a lifestyle shop in Woodland Heights – says shopping locally can elevate your holiday shopping experience, making it more personal and intentional.

“I think that by shopping small you’re able to bring unique items into your home and there’s more of a connection to the products and people behind them,” Alicia Gray said. “It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Even picking up a small candle or chocolate that was produced in a small batch or by hand is a really beautiful way to gift something meaningful and share that feeling and sentiment with others.” 

Genara opened during the middle of the pandemic last July and although it’s been a rough start, Gray says consumers who shop local for the holiday’s will keep her business afloat.

“By purchasing local through the season, we’re able to survive. We’re still not 100% steady on our footing yet so when people come in here, we’re able to stay here,” Gray said. “Plus, when you need a last-minute gift, you’re still able to come in and get some personal one-on-one attention and get it today! You don’t have to order online and wait, wait, wait.”

Even though Gray helps her customers with gift giving year-around, when it comes to the holidays she says it’s a whole different vibe.

“I love gifting! Gifting is my love language. There’s just a whole other energy during the holiday season that I absolutely love. It’s a little crazy, a little chaotic, but so exciting. The shop just buzzes with energy,” Gray said.

Genara offers gift wrapping and will be having a sale the weekend of Small Business Saturday.

As for Chuck Roast, founder and owner of Vinal Edge Records, he believes shopping small is the best way to support an entire ecosystem of small-scale enterprises and community makers. Every dollar spent on local products stays within the community as a reinvestment.

“If you really want to develop a neighborhood and a culture, it’s always good to shop local because they’re going to keep that money in the neighborhood longer before it eventually filters its way up the food chain to the big corporate entities,” Chuck Roast said.

One reason Roast enjoys the Shop Small Initiative is because it highlights the one-of-a-kind businesses that give Houston neighborhoods their distinct character.

“As far as our location, 19th street is a wonderful bastion of small businesses up and down the street like a mall for small indies in a way,” Roast said. “One side of me is Casa Ramirez, a great Mexican folk-art place, Big Blue Whale on the other side of us, and a great coffee shop across the street. It definitely has a lot more character than the big shopping areas have,” Roast said.

Black Friday is also known as “Record Store Day” which brings efforts to promote brick-and-mortar indie record stores in the face of a shopping frenzy as part of a year-round mission. Vinal Edge Records will have exclusive releases coming out Friday, November 26.

According to American Express, when you shop small, you're not just supporting neighborhood favorites – you're investing in a community. Whether you’re a local or in town for the holidays, explore the American Express Map to find small businesses near you – and shop small all season long.

Small Business Saturday is Saturday, November 27.

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