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Local shopping encouraged this holiday season

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Christmas time. Mother, father and their son spending time together, walking on the street, shopping for Christmas present.

The holiday shopping season is officially underway, and there’s a push to buy early to check items off your gift list. Local shops are also looking to cash in this November and December.

“Shop early and shop local” is the message from Nancy Dennis with the Alabama Retail Association. “You want to plan ahead shop early and shop locally because that money is going to come back and re-circulate in your community.”

She said shopping early this year is important because there are concerns about getting everything on your holiday décor and gift list.

“The concern is because of the supply chain issue. People are concerned that the items that they want to get are not going to be available in late December,” Dennis said.

Dennis is pushing Alabamians to buy now if they see an item they want because it might not be there the next time they go shopping.

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Beautiful black male and female couple enjoying winter shopping in the high street

“Most retailers advised, if you see something, you're out shopping and you see something that you want and it's on the shelf, go ahead and get it and put it on layaway. That way you make sure that you're getting what you for the holiday season,” Dennis said.

Aside from the Alabama Retail Association advising to buy early, there’s also a reminder to buy local this holiday season.

Charlie Nelson is the owner of Alabama Vintage in Tuscaloosa. He said his small business clothing and apparel shop relies on community support, and he’s hoping to see an uptick in local business this holiday shopping season.

“It's so helpful to the small businesses, and it's also putting money back in their local community,” Nelson said. “If you're buying from a large corporation or like Amazon and Wal-Mart, then you aren't really helping your local community.”

David Jones owns Bama Stuff in Tuscaloosa and echoed Nelson’s stance on community support, especially a small business that’s been around since the '40s.

“The more customers you have, the better it is for everybody,” Jones said. “We've got a good reputation. People they know us since we've been here so long in the same building since 1942. They know who we are and where we are.”

Both businesses said they are the busiest during the UA football season, but both are doing special sells for either Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Small Business Saturday.

“It’s just really important to us because where the small businesses paying rent and trying to stay open, and we're kind of the people that hold that city turned together honestly, all the small businesses,” said Nelson.

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Ordering Christmas presents, online payment. Online shopping, internet banking, spending money, holidays, vacations concept

If shoppers are still weary of crowds with the COVID-19 pandemic, Dennis said to consider shopping locally through an online shop.

“Lot of local retailers up to their online game. So, even if you're shopping online, you can still continue to shop with Alabama-based businesses,” Dennis said. “If you do that even online and in store, that money comes back to your community.”

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