It goes without saying, but 2020 has been a year. Businesses worldwide have been impacted by this pandemic, with small businesses taking a hard hit. 31% are now non-operational because of Covid and can’t predict what the economic landscape looks like for the next few years. When you consider that those small businesses usually employ over 60 million people in this country, you can see a broader picture of the uphill battle we face.
When you buy from a local company, you’re allowing that brand to continue its mission. Businesses are generally formed to fix a problem the founder is experiencing in the world. I started Portland Gear in 2014 because I couldn’t find anything to wear that shared my Portland pride. People start health companies because they want better snacks or tech companies to make life easier or more connected. People solve problems, and we need to support entrepreneurs in their missions because it’s the only way the world can become a better and more enjoyable place.
“Shopping local” means to spend your money as close to home as possible. The smaller the business you can buy from, the more meaningful that transaction is to the owner. When I first started at Saturday market only selling a few shirts, your $28 was incredibly important to me and kept me going. It gave me the confidence that what I was making mattered and people wanted it in their lives too. That same $28 spent at a big company is so insignificant they hardly even notice it.
Purchasing gifts, useful things, food, from places that are close to your home creates a vibrating impact on the community. As a small business owner, our most significant expenses are paying our employees, printing our shirts locally, rents, utilities, event fees within the community, and charitable giving back to the organizations we believe in. The payroll that goes to our employees is then spent on rents, mortgages, food, gifts, experiences, and the vibrating impact continues. When you Shop Local, you’re helping uplift your community.
I’m guilty. I purchase things from Amazon and other big box companies because it’s easy and convenient. Still, every time I do, I think about the decision I’m making and if there’s an alternate that could support someone locally better. Every day the world is turning into a more convenient, faster-paced place. We either completely give in and buy everything from places we have no connection to, or we slow down, take the extra minute and think about how we could better spend our money. Purchasing just one extra Holiday item from a local shop this year could be the transaction that makes or breaks their month, you just never know.
This Christmas, I made a list of gifts for my wife, family, employees, and friends. I could easily do all my shopping online from big companies, send my money to who knows where all over the world and have my gifts arrive on my doorstep. Instead, I asked friends for recommendations on local companies, found alternates, and will purchasing them in ways that are more impactful in my community. The same community that has supported our small business the last 6 years.
We at Portland Gear appreciate your support over the last 12 months more than ever. You’ve allowed us to create products that give back and make an impact in our community, design graphics with meaning, host digital events that inspire, and most importantly, keep our entire team employed. Thank you and thanks for shopping local with us.
Marcus Harvey - CEO and owner Portland Gear