It’s November, which means the crowds are starting to bustle as we think about holiday gatherings, gifts that need buying, and scoring the best deal. Just like you, the owners & operators of local businesses across Cherokee County are doing the same. They have children and families, gifts to buy and parties to host, all while running their business during the busiest retail season of the year.

The Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce encourages you this season to Shop Local and Shop Cherokee. Whether it’s for one gift or for everything under your tree, choosing to shop with a local or small business has an incredible impact on our community. Not only does it drive our local economy, benefit infrastructure, and support entrepreneurship, but it also allows parents to support their families, to hire your teenager or college student for a holiday job, and support the community in their own way. Shopping local has an endless impact on our community beyond the dollars you spend.

“Shop Local” campaigns are often viewed as retail-specific, but know that your local restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and more are counting on your support as well.

Black Friday

There are Black Friday deals to be found across Cherokee County at small and large businesses alike, they just might take a bit more investigating on your part. Browse the cities’ social media accounts for promotion of sales and events or look for local shops near you on social media and see what types of deals they’re offering. Each of our five cities have opportunities to shop on Black Friday, whether it be for clothes, electronics, home décor, sports gear, or anything else on your list!

Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 25, 2023, is Small Business Saturday. This is a national initiative founded by American Express in 2010 to celebrate and support small businesses and all the ways they impact their communities. In fact, the numbers speak for themselves.

The American Express 2022 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey found that “$0.68 of every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S. stays in the local community and that every dollar spent at a small business creates an additional $0.48 in local business activity as a result of employees and local businesses purchasing local goods and services.”

For many small businesses, the holiday season is critical. Responses from the 2021 American Express survey showed that “78% of small business owners said their holiday sales would likely determine whether they [could] stay afloat in 2022.” This sentiment is sadly still true in 2023. Prioritizing shopping local this holiday season is a great way to support your fellow community members.

If you are the owner of a small business, you can receive free Small Business Saturday marketing materials from American Express. Download the assets here: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/merchant/shop-small/materials.html Their website also offers marketing tips about when to post content and where to hang posters.

Giving Tuesday

In addition to shopping locally, remember to lend your support this Giving Tuesday, November 28, to a local non-profit organization.

Giving Tuesday and Small Business Saturday go hand in hand. A 2019 report by SCORE shares that small businesses donate 250% more than larger businesses to local non-profits and community causes. When you give a charitable donation to a local non-profit organization, you can feel confident that your dollars have impacted an individual, family, or group in your own community.

Financial donations aren’t the only way to get involved! Non-profit organizations are often seeking volunteers to assist with their programs and services. They may also be running campaigns for donations of food, clothing, or supplies, depending on their mission.

As with anything, lending your voice to social media can drive further support. Doing your own research and understanding the advocacy needs of these organizations can be a greater gift than any monetary amount. Spread the word about your favorite non-profit organization, and we challenge you to learn something new about another!

The GivingTuesday movement reminds us that you can give gifts of time, skills, goods, advocacy, and more. The movement also states that “everyone has something to give and every act of generosity counts.”

More than 77 local non-profit organizations are members of the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce. Their impact is immeasurable. You can easily find one, or several, to support through the Chamber’s Business Directory. (This link will take you to the categorical search page of our directory, under “N”, for easy access to the non-profit organization listings.)

Throughout the Holiday Season

As you check gifts off your list in the coming weeks, keep this initiative in mind. Beyond Small Business Saturday, our Cherokee County businesses need your support throughout the entire holiday season – including New Year’s!

There are so many reasons to shop locally that go beyond economic benefits. Local shops often offer high-quality items that have been hand-selected by the staff. This allows you to find more curated and unique gifts that not everyone else will have! Local shops also often sell handmade items by local artisans, which means you’re also supporting the arts!

Coffee shops, restaurants, local yoga studios, and more all benefit from holiday shopping as well. Floral arrangements, jewelry, and even your Christmas tree are all examples of things you might be buying that can easily be swapped for a local option.

Whether you’re choosing to order your holiday desserts from a local bakery or buying your family’s gifts from a downtown boutique, the businesses will greatly appreciate your support.

FREE Ways to Support Local Businesses

As joyous as the holidays can be, we understand that they can be financially trying for many families. Luckily, there are plenty of free ways to support local businesses and non-profit organizations in your community.

  1. Share their social media pages with your network of friends and followers. Just a click of a button can spread their message to hundreds more people in the community who might be able to offer their support.
  2. Like and comment on their posts. Engaging with a local business’s posts is another great way to increase their social media reach. It takes just a second to share a recommendation of their product or service or to celebrate their business with an encouraging comment.
  3. Leave a review on Google, Yelp, Facebook, etc. Leaving a review for your favorite restaurant, service company, or boutique can help them with their digital footprint. Reviews help local and small businesses rank higher on search engines, leading to increased visibility, and more sales!

If you’re a consumer looking for a local business to support on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Giving Tuesday, please browse the Chamber’s Business Directory. You can filter the directory by category (i.e., Retail, Non-Profit, Restaurant, etc.) or search by name to find local organizations to support.

The Shop Local, Shop Cherokee initiative is sponsored by Woodstock Furniture Outlet and Cherokee Recreation and Parks.