Christmas being a make-or-break season for many retailers is especially the case with small businesses in 2020, and one organization is encouraging shoppers to be mindful of that.
"Small businesses have definitely been the hardest hit by this pandemic," says Meghan Cruz, director of grassroots at the National Retail Federation (NRF). "They operate on razor-thin margins, and … the shutdowns in early spring … the reduced hours and things that keep coming out of localities around the country definitely make it difficult for small businesses right now."
Her organization is encouraging everyone to shop specifically on Small Business Saturday so they can support their local retailers.
Some cost-conscious consumers prefer shopping at larger stores, where items tend to be cheaper and available in greater quantities. But Cruz submits that shopping small supports real people.
"Small businesses are the heart and soul of community, and those store owners take extreme pride in the product and the level of services they can provide," says Cruz. "I've heard from some of our small businesses in our network that their customers' happiness is their happiness, so the personal level of service is something that is just unique to small businesses."
Cruz also adds that small businesses are often a family affair.
"You can meet the owner or the owner's children while you're in the store," she continues. "It's a great way to spend your time and money around the holidays, supporting local businesses that really lift up the entire community."
In terms of COVID-19 concerns, Cruz believes small retailers are committed to operating safely.
"At the National Retail Federation, we have an initiative called Operation Open Doors, where it's basically retail's path for safely operating," Cruz relays. "A lot of our small businesses are following those guidelines, which you can see everywhere you go with six-foot social distancing markers, mask requirements, sanitizing stations, [and] plastic barriers."
With that, she asserts that small businesses "are taking it very seriously."