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Monday, February 26, 2024

Give Back by Shopping Local

By Kat Jeanne

As the year shifts into the swing of the holidays, so does the shopping focus. No matter what the year has brought, we can all find a way to enjoy the holidays in our community.

Traveling around to locally owned businesses downtown and around Enid, there are plenty of shopping choices – for both new and used items.

Locally owned businesses pick the items and products they sell based on what they know you like and want. Small businesses carry a wid­er array of unique products because they buy for their own individual markets.

At small businesses, customers are able to find and even request products and services that are not typically offered at big box stores.

“Here you’re going to get the memories with stuff for sale,” said Amber Mercado, employee of Broadway Antiques and daughter of the owners. “You might see something that your grandma or mom had here.”

Whether shopping for a gift or for yourself, small businesses offer unique, curated items and services.

“When someone comes looking for something they really want, we put it on a list to send to vendors who can go out and find it,” said Mercado.

“Small business owners here are very kind. If there is not something in the store that you want, they’ll look for it and order it,” said Natalie Rapp, Executive Director of Main Street.

So, next time you’re looking for that plaid fuzzy jacket, a book, or a pair of sunglasses – look no further than a small business before you look at a big box store.

Though big box stores offer a greater quantity of selection, they miss an essential part of community and the small town feel that towns like Enid hope to maintain.

Shopping in a small store, then running into someone you know to chat or even ask shopping advice brings a whole new feeling to shopping. It feels personalized, said Lori Coonrod, Membership and Special Events Director at the Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce.

“The cold feeling of department stores in a mall, often feels rushed or even stressed so that you don’t even enjoy it,” said Lori. “Here, with the local aspect of it, you can run down the street or leave your house for an hour or two and shop at the boutiques. It’s just a different feeling.”

When you shop at that boutique downtown or run at the local gym, your dollars are going to the family of the owner, its employees, and back into your community by way of taxes.

“We like to shop locally too,” said Tani Mahaffey, owner of Boho Teepee. “As you become a small business, you become more aware of how much you are supporting your community and their family members by buying from them.”

You contribute to the holiday spirit of giving when you give your business to a small shop.

“It’s not all about money,” said Patricia Case, employee of Boho Teepee. “Yeah, you can go to Ross to get that, but you don’t get that sense of relationship and community. I’m from California,” said Patricia. “You see boutiques but not like here, where you know the family, the employees. Here, you’re going to have a relationship with them.”

Tani said that having a relationship with her customers and the community allows her to be a bigger part of the community. Many customers have turned to friends that just come into the shop to just talk to us on good days and bad, said Tani.

“Anytime I question what I do, I remember them,” said Tani.

Patricia added, “They aren’t even buying anything! They just come in to feel that sense of community, warmth, and acceptance. It’s not just about making money; it’s about having a relationship and a sense of belonging. Life is more than just money.”

It’s no wonder that both regional and national organizations for profit and not, push for consumers to buy from small businesses.

Thirteen years ago, Small Business Saturday was born. The holiday is on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and it was created to help small businesses gain exposure and to inspire consumers to shop within their own communities during the holiday season. This year, it’s on November 25.

Why buy your holiday gifts around town?

  1. Shopping Small is investing in your local economy
  2. Small businesses give back to their community
  3. Shoppers will find customized service and special items

Sales Tax money is used to support public schools, parks, roads, and sidewalks, as well as fund public service workers. When you support a local business, you’re also supporting your town, city, and neighborhood by way of paying sales tax.

“Facing economic uncertainty and high inflation, many small businesses are feeling the pressure to have a strong quarter before the colder, slower months of winter to come. It is even more important this year to support small businesses and fuel a strong economy,” according to the U.S Department of Commerce.

Small businesses give back by staying, growing, and shopping in their local market. Raising a family here, spending, volunteering, donating time, money, and services – all done by small business owners and customers to help keep each other and their community going.

Small towns like Enid that have shrunk or lost their downtowns, have lost an essential part of a town’s community. If we don’t keep that alive, ours will go away too, said Patricia.

“If you don’t get out into the community, you don’t know what a great community we have,” said Tani. “It’s excellent if you’re out looking for it.”

Nearly all small business owners agree that community engagement is important for their business—and are actively engaged in giving back in several ways—including hosting or sponsoring community events, donating to local charities, and forming partnerships with other local businesses, according to the U.S. Chamber.

Many Enid businesses work in conjunction with each other, supplying each other with goods and services, but also providing support and referrals. With a strong small business network, downtown and other mom and pops businesses will be able to remain open.

“Enid has worked hard to present promotions throughout the years that encourage people to keep their holiday dollars at home, downtown and beyond.” said Lori Coonrod, Membership and Special Events Director at the Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce.

There will be a few special shopping holidays in December locally. The events are put on by Main Street Enid running from 6-9 p.m.

December 8 – a Downtown ‘Sip, Snack, and Shop’

December 15 – Christmas Carol Crawl

Businesses will have different musical groups in their shops playing while you shop.

“I would say that shopping in Enid is an experience,” said Natalie Rapp, Executive Director of Main Street Enid. “It’s got a community feel. Everybody is extremely nice and wants to provide that holiday experience.” “It’s a hallmark movie here during Christmas time, and it’s wonderful,” said Natalie.

Blake Reese
Blake Reese is the Coeditor and Advertising Director for Enid Monthly. Writing and editing are passions of his, but he also enjoys the connections and relationships he gets to make by going out into the community. Blake is originally from Wichita, Kansas, but he relocated to Enid after graduating from college. He graduated from Wichita State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science accompanied by a minor in Communications. Blake definitely misses the city life from time to time, but he's happy to be a part of the Enid community.

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