With the holiday season approaching, West Virginia University Extension Service experts recommend looking to local small businesses to purchase gifts or ingredients for meals.

“When you choose to purchase from a small business instead of a large national chain, you invest directly into the local economy, creating vigorous growth for small towns and local businesses,” said Kelly Nix, WVU Extension Service leadership specialist. “Buying local goods and services directly impacts the local community and allows for economic advancement of individual businesses and eventually, the entire town.”

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is Small Business Saturday, a day to show support for local businesses. This year it falls on Nov. 30. – sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Although Small Business Saturday is the most recognized day of the year where small business shopping is highly encouraged, Nix says it shouldn’t be the only time of year to frequent local shops.

“West Virginia small businesses are open for business throughout the year,” Nix said. “It’s important that we support them through every season and not just during the holidays.”

She suggests seeking out quality, West Virginian-owned businesses in communities and small towns throughout the state.

Nix said the best place to find local shops and businesses may be on the “Main Street” of the small town you’re visiting. That street will typically offer boutique shopping, family-owned restaurants and other West Virginian-owned businesses.

Spending money at a local store or restaurant drives the entire economy forward. In addition to purchasing gifts, ingredients for meals and locally made cheeses and wines for the holidays are options.

Places like the Capitol Market in Charleston offer a large amount of handcrafted goods and West Virginian-made foods from across the state, available year-round.

“When visitors seek out local shops and spend money on their goods or services, resident businesses gain resources from other areas of the state – or neighboring states – that grow their business, leading to increased economic development from tourism in the region,” said Doug Arbogast, WVU Extension specialist for community and rural tourism.

Although visiting the communities and towns where small businesses are located is part of the appeal to shopping local, you can still support small businesses and create a strong local business economy in West Virginia by purchasing products from West Virginian merchants online.

For information on community development or tourism, contact the WVU Extension Service Office of Community Resources and Economic Development at 304-293-6967.



CONTACT: Cassie Waugh, WVU Extension Service
304.293.8735, Cassie.Waugh@mail.wvu.edu

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