November 30, 2018
We live in a society where shopping for new shoes is as easy as clicking “add to cart.” While there is certainly value in the convenience and efficiency of online shopping, we have to consider the impact on our local businesses that also compete for our hard-earned dollars. This story isn’t new.
Most Melrosians recognize the struggles that face small businesses and embrace shopping local as a great way to participate in the local economy. We know Melrose is a special community and understand how our local shops, restaurants, cultural activities, nonprofit organizations, and farmers markets add character to the place we call home. However, sometimes shopping local just isn’t possible for every item you may need. Here are three additional ways we can continue to support our local businesses:
Give Local Gifts & Experiences this Holiday Season
Now is the perfect time of year to consider how your holiday shopping might contribute to our local economy. Give tickets to a local event such as a show at the Greater Boston Stage Company or Melrose Symphony Orchestra, or an art class at Follow Your Art. Put together a “craft beer basket” with local beer suggestions from Buckalew’s or Beacon Hill Wine & Spirits on Main Street. Give “Shop Melrose” gift certificates from the Chamber of Commerce to employees, co-workers, or friends. You might even consider making a donation on behalf of someone special to a local charity instead of giving another mug or scarf this holiday season.
Spread Awareness on Social Media
Maybe you had a great appetizer at a local restaurant, a fantastic haircut, or a really positive experience with a local insurance company, financial advisor, or handyman – tell someone about it! Snap a photo and share it on Facebook; write a positive review on Facebook, Google, TripAdvisor, or Yelp; comment or share your story on the business’ Facebook page. Small businesses especially thrive on word-of-mouth recommendations and many shop owners don’t have the budget – or time – to invest in extensive advertising campaigns. Local business owners put their heart and soul into their shops. Sharing your positive experience is not only great free advertising, but personally meaningful to the store owner.
Leverage your Banking to Boost the Local Economy
You might not realize that banking locally is another way to support the local economy. A local bank is a small business too. Community banks provide capital for new and growing businesses and according to the Independent Community Bankers Association, local banks make up to 50% of all small business loans. Community banking is more than lending. Local banks depend on their communities to operate, so they share an interest in helping the community prosper. The continued success of your bank directly increases its charitable giving capacity in the community. This year, the Melrose Bank Foundation will donate over $100,000 in charitable donations to the community because local residents and businesses chose to bank locally.
Strong local businesses, nonprofits, and community banks are the foundation for a vibrant hometown that gives life to the phrase there’s no place like home. Participate in the local economy by visiting a store and discovering something new; engage on social media with the businesses that make Melrose so special; and consider banking locally with a hometown bank that is just as committed to supporting the community as you are.
Jim Oosterman is the Senior Vice of Melrose Bank and a lifelong resident of Melrose. He can be reached by telephone at 781-665-2500, online at melrosebank.com, or on Facebook at facebook.com/MelroseBank.