After the turkey settles and the leftovers are put away, many take to the newspapers on Thanksgiving Day to scope out the best Black Friday deals. It is a great idea to start that holiday shopping list early, but what about considering a new spin on your traditional shopping plans? Instead of hitting the typical chain stores, try adding a personal touch this year by shopping local.

Small Business Saturday is a national holiday celebrating America’s small businesses, started by American Express in 2010. This day takes place the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is dedicated to supporting the types of small businesses that built and sustain our country.

There are a number of reasons to consider taking the time to shop local this holiday season. Not only does it benefit the local economy, but also it gives you more unique options and personalized service. 

6 Reasons to Shop Local

1. Community Impact. Local businesses are owned by people who live in your town, go to your church or synagogue, donate to local animal shelters, coach Little League teams. When you spend money in their stores and cafes, you support your neighbors which, in turn, supports the community. Small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes (Source: Seattle Good Business Network).

2. Improve the local economy. When you buy local, considerably more money stays in the community. According to recent studies, for every $100 spent at a local business, roughly $68 stays local while only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer remains.

3. Know the people behind the product. When you personally know the people behind the business where you’re buying local products and services, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Along with the rest of the community, you celebrate when a favorite local business succeeds and you mourn when it’s forced to shut its doors. This personal investment isn’t quite as present when a chain business closes, aside from feeling disappointment that you have fewer businesses within convenient driving distance.

4. Keep your community unique. Local businesses give a community its flavor. Towns across America have similar chain restaurants, grocery and department stores but that diner down the street where you have breakfast every Saturday morning is one-of-a-kind. The combined presence of your town’s many local businesses makes it different from every other city in the world. By supporting those businesses instead of chains, you ensure that uniqueness is preserved as a part of your community.

5. Personalized Service. Having the owner nearby also means that owner personally knows their customers. They know the products you buy or the services you request on a regular basis and can tailor services to make your experience even better. For example, a local gardening shop owner may learn about a new product on the market that can help you with a pest control problem you mentioned on one of your recent visits.

6. It’s Fun! Make it a girl’s day. Sleep in, grab coffee downtown and spend the day strolling down Main Street. You might end up buying more for yourself than crossing things off your holiday gift list but that’s fun too.

Buying local has benefits beyond mere convenience. When you support local business owners, you get a better level of service, as well as helping make your community a better place to live.