10 Powerful Ways You Can Support Local: Affordable Tips That Go Beyond Spending Money
Some of the greatest little gems you will ever find in this world are local treasures, and of course, the people behind the business. Those little hole-in-the-wall, out of the box places are what makes our cities, towns and neighborhoods so great – it gives them personality, flavour, and of course, something that provides joy. If there’s one thing this global pandemic has highlighted, it’s that these places need our help and support. Small businesses have taken hit after hit, and now more than ever is the time to help build them back up. Here are 10 powerful ways you can support local this year (an affordable guide that goes beyond spending money and creates lasting habits)!
Note: No affiliate links are used in this post. This post is used to highlight local businesses, and give them their full proceeds. Affiliate links will always be disclosed prior to sharing, as transparency is something highly regarded on Cynspo.
Things to remember
Ditch The All Or Nothing Mindset
Maybe you’ve thought of switching to shopping more locally in the past – then the thought hits you – ‘but I can’t afford to buy everything locally.’ Or maybe, ‘what’s the point if I’m only able to grab one thing?’ I’m challenging you to ditch the all or nothing mindset and embrace that supporting local doesn’t have to be an all or nothing mindset.
Take this quote from Robert H. Schuller, “Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing perfectly”. You deciding to support local, even if it’s one small act, is better than doing nothing at all. Remember, doing one small act of supporting local won’t hurt a local business, but doing nothing will.
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Do So Within Your Means
Remember, you don’t need to light yourself on fire to keep others warm. There are so many ways you can support local without spending money. Remember, making a conscious effort to support local while spending/doing within your means, is more beneficial than running yourself dry. Shop local when you can, and in the meantime, check out the list below for non-spending ideas of how to support local!
10 Powerful Ways You can Support Local This Year
The obvious answer – putting money into the pockets of local businesses makes the most sense, right? If you can, try your best to switch to more locally owned businesses. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t shop unless it’s local, but instead it’s a challenge to think – what am I buying that can be switched to locally sourced items?
INSPO: buy your next coffee from a local shop, check out farmer’s markets for seasonal produce, have your next date night at a locally owned restaurant (here are 5 waterfront patios you need to check out in the summer!), or check out local clothing stores for your next fashion find.
2. Reach Out
Tell them what you love about them! Positive feedback and compliments would make anyone’s day, including those who run small businesses. Reaching out and sharing positive feedback regarding a product or service is a nice reminder to the owner you’re satisfied with their products and service, and is an affirmation that they’re doing a great job!
3. Word of Mouth
If you love something, tell the WORLD (you don’t need to be a blogger to do so). The next time someone is looking for a recommendation, or asks you where you purchased something, SHARE! Word of Mouth Marketing is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing – 92% of consumers will believe WOMM over advertisement (full article here). Bonus: it doesn’t cost a dime.
4. Engage On Social Media
Your actions have weight! Liking, sharing, saving and commenting are super important when it comes to helping a business grow on social media. Now why would this be relevant? Growth on social media actually helps businesses be able to expand their reach on social media platforms, which in turn means more eyes on them and their product. In a world that is highly digital, getting more eyes on your content is never a bad thing! Check out this Instagram post for a more in depth explanation of Instagram’s features that can help a small business grow:
5. Donate To a Local Charity
You’ve heard the saying that the grass is greener where you water it, right? Donating local is a great way to support the community around you. Helping local initiatives actively makes changes in your own backyard, neighborhoods, and city. Whether you decide to donate money, resources or time, helping out in your own community is a great way to give local spaces a way to flourish!
6. Tag Your Photos & Use Their Business Hashtag
Again, social media is a great way to help local businesses grow and get their content seen by others. When you tag the local business, or use their own special hashtag, you’re spreading the word! This gives local businesses essentially free advertising, and a chance for your friends and family to check out the products they have to offer (and it costs you nothing as well!).
7. Make An Effort Year Round
The Holiday season is a peak spending season, but there are often the after affects – slower months to come in the new year. Whether you decide to shop local, or help with sharing a business’s social media content, make a conscious effort to do so beyond the holiday season!
8. Leave a Review
Whether it’s a Google review or by any other means, leave a review where you can! When people are looking for recommendations and are shopping around, the reviews section is a great snapshot of how well the business handles customer service, deliveries, and the quality of their products. When you leave a good review on a business you love and support, you’re providing more insight to potential customers. It’s said that 93% of consumers are still swayed by online reviews, and that those reviews make or break their decision to purchase (full article here).
TIP: when writing a review, make sure to include meaningful aspects. Write about your experience, the product you received, the experience you had with an employee, etc. Explain why this shopping experience was beneficial to you, and what stood out to you as a positive about the business!
9. Pay Full Price
It can be tempting to snap up a deal when you see it, or use a promo code to save a few dollars. If you have the means to skip the promo code, please do so! Buying items full price when you can helps support locally even more, and gives more of the bottom line back to the business.
10. Subscribe To Their Email List
Stay in the know all year round! By subscribing to their email, you’ll receive the latest news, promos, product launches and more. This way you can stay on top of, and plan your spending around what they have to offer!
15 Local Ottawa Area Businesses That Have My Whole Heart
Below are a list of my top 15 local Ottawa businesses. With a wide variety of options (from services, to products, to restaurants), this is only a small slice of Ottawa goodness. Check out my 25 favourites below, and give their links a click if you want to know more and help support local!
1. Smudge Beauty Bar
Not only do they offer high quality services and a luxurious experience, the staff are kind, warm and welcoming. I have always felt at home at Smudge, and feel like a brand new person leaving! Located on 223 Dalhousie street, Smudge is a hidden gem you won’t want to miss!
Megan has created the perfect brand/store/lifestyle – an ode to the badass boss babe who supports her local girl gang! BBxCo. has apparel, accessories, and much more at her store located on 31 York Street. She ships worldwide & is guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
3. Tin Barn Market (Almonte)
A little bit out of the immediate Ottawa area, but WORTH the drive. Tin Barn Market is the coziest little boutique Bridge Street has to offer. From home decor, to cozy essentials, to dainty jewellery and more, Tin Barn Market will give you that slow lived, want to curl up in-front of the fire and never leave kinda feel. Don’t hesitate to check them out if you’re in the area, or shop from them online!
4. Little Victories Coffee
Delicious coffee, what else is there to say? Check out Little Victories at 801 Bank Street – they even built a little Covid-friendly addition onto the back of their store! Shop coffee, apparel and even treat yourself to a Suzy Q donut while you’re there!
5. Maker House Co.
Maker House Co. is like the Homesense of local Canadian finds! They offer a large variety of products from food items, to decor, to bath essentials and more from makers all across Canada! The epitome of supporting local lies in this store!
Beautiful flowers, for any occasion (even just because!). Bloomfields has two locations (Bank and Wellington) and specializes in creating floral arrangements, bouquets and of course, selling plants!
7. Laani Life
Scrunchie heaven! My favourite scrunchies ever are from Laani Life – the elastic means business. Whether I wear my hair up on a 12 hour nursing shift or out for a run, I know my hair isn’t going anywhere with these stylish scrunchies!
8. Mimi’s In Manotick
This little hidden gem nestled in Manotick is beyond worth the drive. If donuts are your thing, Mimi’s is the place to go! You can’t miss the iconic little storefront on Bridge Street in Manotick!
9. Flamingo Boutique
When I think of something that screams ‘fun’ and ‘the perfect gift’, Flamingo Boutique pops into my mind. A fun little assortment of crafty items, gifts and home decor all wrapped up into one little place!
10. The Ministry of Coffee
Nutella Latte – enough said. The Ministry of Coffee is home to one of my favourite decadent lattes, and so much more. They have four locations in Ottawa (Elgin, Wellington West, Beechwood & Via Rail).
11. Lee & Evelyn
Alicia creates the most adorable, cozy knit hats I’ve ever stumbled upon. Keep cozy this winter by checking out Lee & Evelyn, and fawning over their adorable hats!
12. All Eco Inc.
Organic, eco-friendly, Canadian made? It sounds to good to be true, but it isn’t! All Eco Inc. Is located at 857B Bank Street and offers a wide range of organic, eco friendly, locally made products! From cleaning your home to your body and more, they’ve got products for every aspect of your life!
13. Pure YOga / Pure Kitchen
Safe to say I’m obsessed with both Pure Yoga and Pure Kitchen. Pure Yoga studios are the living definition of zen and wellness. Pure Kitchen is the restaurant I turn to most whenever I decide to eat out or take out! Absolutely worth checking out, and if you aren’t comfortable returning to the studio just yet, they currently have online class options!
14. Olde Crow Creek (Pakenham)
My love for small town boutiques holds no limits (or distance too far)! If you’re in the area, Olde Crow Creek is a gem, through and through. It’s everything you would expect a country boutique to be and more!
My love for Greek food can be satisfied here easily! EVOO is located on Preston and offers delicious, hearty servings. My favourite experience is getting the sharing plates for the table, and getting together with a few good friends over some wine!
CHECK OUT: 5 Tasty Taco Spots in Ottawa
5 Ontario Based Brands I Love
My idea of support local goes beyond Ottawa. Check out Ontario brands I love!
Wolf & Pine
Luxurious skin care, amazing scents, and hilarious product names. You can’t go wrong with Wolf & Pine! You can also check them out here!
Ingrown hairs, razor bumps and redness can be a thing of the past once you meet Bush Balm! A luxury line of oils aimed at the bikini zone, but not limited to, can help soothe your skin & smell amazing while doing so!
Sauces, jams, spreads, butters, seasonings and MORE! Wildly Delicious is just that – wildly, delicious! I use their Tangerine Chili Jelly for just about everything!
Pelee Island Winery
Hands down, my favourite winery. You cannot go wrong with any of Pelee Island wines or collections. I personally recommend Ruggles Run, or anything from the LOLA collection. Deliciously local wine, and available throughout most LCBOs!
the content planner
Kat Gaskin is the definition of badass business woman. She created The Content Planner, a planner dedicated to help plan your blog & business content out in an efficient, customizable way!
5 Canadian Based Brands I Love
Keep it in Canada! Check out how you can support local with these Canadian brands!
Saje Natural Wellness
Saje Natural Wellness is your holistic haven – diffuser blends for every ailment, diffusers, skin care and body care products and more. Saje is my favourite Canadian Brand to shop from!
Ten Tree never ceases to blow my mind. Their goal is to plant 1 Billion trees by 2030, and have already surpassed 50,000,000! They plant 10 trees for each item you purchase.
Smash & Tess
Rompers for every mood, occasion and favourite colour. Smash & Tess are the creators behind the coziest, comfiest romper!
Pre-made, plant based smoothie cubes that don’t require a blender to make?! You need Evive! You simply pop the cubes into a cup (lid needed for shaking), pour the milk of your choice, wait 20 mins and shake!
A flattering, luxury swimwear line created by Hyla Naiyeri and Adrien Bettio, 437 has an array of styles that flatter any body, are comfy & on trend!
Spread That Local Love
However you decide to support local, know you’re pumping money, time, resources and love into your community. Set an intention to support local businesses and watch how your outlook starts to change on the importance of connecting with your community! How do you plan to support local this year? tell me in the comments!