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Shopping local, small this season

All things considered, it's been a tough year for small business.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The holidays are here and people are filling their carts, whether that's online or in person. 

With the crazy year we've had, it's more important than ever to shop local. 

Many businesses across the Midlands have had a hard time this year and are looking for local support.

“When you purchase something from a local business, it’s going back into the community," says Bill Hrisko, owner of Unforgettable on Devine St. "It’s putting food on local people’s plates and I think that’s very important.”

The fine jewelry shop owner has been around for years and wants people to remember how beneficial it is for the community to keep their money local. 

“It shows that the community supports us," Hrisko says. "This has been a hard year. It’s been a hard year for a lot of people, and when we see our regular clients and when we get patronized by the public, it boosts morale. It tells us that we can keep going and to push forward.”

Outspokin Bicycles has been in the Midlands for over 30 years and appreciates the community that supports them. “We really encourage people to shop local because – especially with something like bicycles," says owner Brian Curran, "it’s not just getting a bike and never talk to the person you got it from again. We offer free lifetime tune-ups on them. We’re here as a resource as far as information, places to ride, how to ride safely ... and we found that our community really supports us during the holidays.”

With a shop full of bikes from floor to ceiling, shops like this keep people coming back with their genuine service. "The great thing about being a local business is that you develop so many great relationships, Curran said. "These are the people we go to church with, our kids go to school together, I see them in the grocery store … so not only are they customers, they’re friends too.”

Elizabeth Grich works at Revente in Five Points and says shops like this are vital to keeping these small communities alive. “It’s just important to keep it in the community, I mean the Five Points community … Five Points is our home. We’ve got to keep it going. We’ve been around for over 27 years so it’d be tragic for a global pandemic to end that.”

So, while doing your holiday shopping this year, keep the mom and pop shops down the street in mind.