As retailers across the country prepare for the biggest season of the year, there’s a new kind of celebration going on in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia—and this one is all about the locals. From November 15 through December 15, coastal Virginia communities will recognize Buy Local Month in support of the diverse local businesses that build up the region’s economy.
According to the Retail Alliance, Buy Local Month raises awareness of the importance of supporting local businesses in and around Hampton Roads. All 17 communities that make up the region will recognize the celebration, from Gloucester and Williamsburg to Virginia Beach, Suffolk, and Franklin. Buy Local Month is supported by officials in each locality and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (HRPDC), which passed a formal resolution to designate the celebration.
“It’s an exciting resolution for the region,” said Andria McClellan, vice-chair of the HRPDC, regarding the campaign. “Hampton Roads is a community of communities and standing together for small business will be impactful for years to come.”
This year marks the first year that Hampton Roads has dedicated an entire month to highlighting small businesses—and, for many of them, it couldn’t have come at a better time. The holiday season draws crowds of shoppers to retailers all over the country. For many small businesses, it has become the most important—and most competitive—season of the year. Buy Local Month brings attention to the importance of shopping local for the region’s economy.
“When we, Retail Alliance, surveyed our small business members before and after the 2018 holidays, the biggest challenges noted were ‘limited marketing and advertising dollars’ and ‘consumers’ lack of awareness of locally owned businesses,’” said Lisa Renee Jennings, manager of Retail Alliance’s LOVEVA Buy Local program. “In the age of one-click purchases, it’s up to every individual to act and buy local. This mantra has been said time and time again, but we need to make sure everyone understands it: We must support what we love, or risk losing it.”
Shopping local brings reinvestment, jobs, and diversity to the community. That’s because small businesses return three times more money to the local economy per dollar of sales than their big-box counterparts. This multiplier effect is even larger when small businesses are compared with online retailers. During this holiday shopping season, Hampton Roads consumers can make a conscious choice to find unique gifts, décor and more from shops and stores that contribute to the economic vitality of the region.
For more information on Buy Local Month and how to spread the word, visit the Buy Local Month page from Retail Alliance.