Most epic “Small Business Saturday” ever!

shop_smallSaturday, November 26 is officially known as the day that we should all reach out and shop small or shop local. This is an effort to boost business for small local shops across our nation. I love this concept, but I don’t limit it to just one Saturday. I shop small every week throughout the year.

We all know that small business with 50 employees or less make up over 70% of all business in this country. These local Mom and Pop Shops are owners who have risked a lot to start a business, and in most cases, they struggle for years before they turn a profit.

But it’s not just the small business owner that eventually benefits from starting that company. It’s the neighbors that become employees that work for that small shop owner as well as the families that thrive as the small business grows and expands.

It is these small shop owners and their employees that I am so thankful for and for whom I show my appreciation every day by spending my money with them whenever I can.

This became sort of a challenge for me last year leading into the holidays. I would try to convert as much of my weekly spending on basics to local small shops. At first, it was inconvenient because I used to shop at just three stores for everything I needed. This expanded to six local shops to find what I needed. Many items are different and prices vary but what I found is the quality of product and selection has increased.

Supporting those in my community is important, so I put together my list of holiday gifts and food items that I needed for Thanksgiving dinner. On Saturday, November 19, I went to my local butcher and picked up some grass-fed beef, turkey and bacon. I then stopped at the local Farmers market set up in the parking lot of the community park close to my house where I picked up the sweet potatoes and others items for my fridge.

Shopping small meant I didn’t have to fight long lines at the big box store, got better quality for my dollar, and I supported the jobs of those in my town.

So this year, I tracked what I bought from all local shops to make an incredible Thanksgiving meal for my family. Over 80% of all ingredients came from local small shops and boy could I taste the difference.

I love to cook on my Traeger smoker grill most nights. I could use my oven but I just really like being outside cooking and love the real wood-fired taste over gas or briquettes.

This Thanksgiving I smoked a ten-pound brisket for 13 hours starting the night before. Then I loaded up my smoker and drove to my parent’s house to cook the Turkey. The turkey only took three hours and left me just enough time to whip up the sweet potato marshmallow casserole.

For Christmas I plan on cooking a bacon-weaved holiday ham, spicy crab poppers, mozzarella stuffed meatballs, smoked chili hot chocolate and a caramel apple pie all on my smoker grill.

All of the meats are grass fed locally raised and all produce is local grown and sold.

To really make “Shop Small” successful, we just need to shop smart all year.

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

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