Many West Virginian small businesses, like small businesses all over the world, are hurting right now. Recent data suggests that nearly a quarter of all small businesses remain closed, either partially or permanently, as a result of the pandemic. Yelp also estimates that almost 100,000 small businesses have closed as a result of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the holiday season, on which many small businesses rely, seems to be creeping up sooner and sooner. This year, as if no time has passed at all, the holidays are here before the economy has had a chance to recover. Small Business Saturday (SBS) rivals the deals of big-box store Black Friday sales in a way that impacts not just your gift recipients, but your entire local community.
The State of Small Business
The state of small businesses differs depending on what state you look at. According to the Appalachian Regional Commission, many counties in West Virginia (where we are based) are currently in distressed economic states. This has huge implications for West Virginian small business owners. Not only are they receiving less foot traffic due to COVID restrictions, their online sales are decreasing due to regional economic decline.
Despite this, West Virginians are showing their resilience and sense of community. Visa recently published a “Back to Business” holiday study with some promising statistics for the upcoming holiday season! The study found that 60% of American holiday shoppers plan to do half or more of their winter holiday shopping at local retailers. Additionally, 32% of American shoppers plan on doing the majority of their shopping online this year. Hopefully, this one-third will consider visiting local business websites!
In 2019, U.S. consumers spent approximately $19.6 billion on Small Business Saturday, a day devoted to supporting local businesses and getting holiday shopping done ahead of time. While you can’t get the experience of meeting the owners and learning their stories in person this year, online shopping is a perfect way to support your local economy through one of their toughest years yet.
Why Shop Small
There are plenty of reasons to shop local and shop small! Local shop owners create with a purpose; they are dedicated to making high quality products and creating meaningful relationships with their customers. No more “take it or leave it”, local business owners create with their customers in mind.
Supporting local businesses also directly supports your local community. Rather than buying from a big-box store that’s based in who knows where, the tax money from your purchase goes to your city and county. In fact, the amount of money that is recirculated from a local purchase is three times higher than from a chain store!
Not only are you supporting your community financially, you’re also helping to build a closer-knit community that supports one another. Rather than funneling money to a billionaire who hasn’t visited their store in months, you know exactly who you’re supporting. In this time of social distancing, it’s increasingly important to connect and support each other, even while apart!
Lastly, small businesses provide job opportunities to people in your community. In West Virginia, small businesses account for 49.2% of the job opportunities statewide. That’s nearly half of the state. This is especially true at Appalachian Botanical Co. We provide people of all backgrounds with a fair job on our lavender fields. Here they earn a livable wage, far above the minimum, in exchange for their dedication and hard work.
ABCo’s West Virginian Small Business Saturday
This year marks our first large-scale harvest from our lavender fields in Ashford, West Virginia. Our organic lavender is used to make a variety of gift-worthy products to share with your family (or keep for yourself, we won’t tell). We partnered with a local botanical distillery to create 100% pure lavender essential oils which go into a variety of home and body care products. We also partnered with a local apiary to create lavender-infused honeys that are Appalachian through and through! Now until November 24, your orders will make it to you in time for SBS to help relive the magic of the years before! We’ll also be creating new holiday gift sets to help check off every item on your Christmas wish list.
Our products are beginning to be stocked in local Appalachian spas and stores, but this Small Business Saturday you can support us online by shopping on our website or sharing about us on social media. Not only can it help to sustain sales through the holiday season, it helps us to build brand awareness with people who might be interested in our mission.
The same is true of other local businesses! Sharing your favorite local businesses online is a great way to support them through Small Business Saturday and everyday. You can follow us on Instagram and use the “small business” button to help share our mission with your followers!
Sharing love via likes, shares, and comments on both Instagram and Facebook is another way to help us stay West Virginian strong, no matter what lies ahead. In short, this is what happens when you choose to shop small:
We’re proud to be a part of the Appalachian community and hope that you’ll join us on November 28th, 2020 to kick the holiday season into gear and spread some lavender love!
MEET THE AUTHOR / ELIZA TALVOLA is a writer from Pittsburgh, PA who considers herself to be a conscious consumer and traveler, slow fashion advocate, and devoted foodie. She is a firm believer in creative reuse and putting people over profits, and is a long time lavender enthusiast. Her favorite product: Lavender Hand Sanitizer Spray