JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — As the holidays approach, the convenience of online shopping may be tempting, but the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce urges residents to shop small and local.
Nov. 28 was “Shop Small Saturday” a national shopping day that takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The national promotion was launched by American Express in 2010 as a campaign to encourage consumers to shop small and support their local communities.
This year more than ever, the Johns Creek Chamber of Commerce is encouraging consumers to shop small all season long.
Robin Buckley, chief operations officer for the Johns Creek Chamber, said shopping small and local is important to keep the community alive.
“If we want our community to continue to grow and be vibrant, we have to support the people that help to make it that way,” Buckley said. “Nobody likes to see their community die. When we were in the middle of the pandemic, the residents were so sad because everything was shut down. The parking lots were empty, they're still empty.”
Ami Israeli, manager of Atlanta Diamond Design, a local family-owned store with Johns Creek and Cumming locations, said shopping locally not only boosts the local economy, it gives the consumer personalized service.
“The smaller mom-and-pop stores are going to be more willing to help, to be there for you, to make sure that everything with your products is good and are exactly what you wanted, and they're going to be more willing to work with you,” Israeli said. “So, if you shop local, you know that small store is going to be more accommodating to your needs.”
Due mainly to the global coronavirus pandemic, small and local businesses struggled this year, while online shopping had great success.
Many local businesses had periods where they were forced to close their doors, either through state and local health mandates or through a lack of foot traffic.
Atlanta Diamond Design was one business affected in the lockdowns.
“I definitely think during the pandemic, it's important to shop local,” Israeli said. “I know more people are realizing since the pandemic started that keeping the local economy afloat is very important. Certainly, you know, things are harder, but I think things are harder for everybody. We're all gonna get through this together.”
Buckley explained that shopping local doesn’t have to mean only shopping at small businesses or avoiding chains. She stressed the importance of supporting businesses that employ residents.
“Even if people are shopping at Walgreens, they still have employees, local people, and Walgreens needs to make money to be able to stay in business to keep their employees paid,” Buckley said. “So, I think it isn’t just a shop small, it really is a call for people to shop local. Instead of ordering everything online, order for curbside pickup, and at least then, our local employees and local businesses are getting that income coming into them.”