The Large Impact of Shopping Small

By: Josh Cross, Interim CEO & President of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce

Amidst a global pandemic with COVID-19 cases rising in the county, nationally, and globally, now more than ever before, it’s essential to shop locally. As we ring in the holiday shopping season, let’s support our Atasca-mazing community by intentionally purchasing from small businesses. I’m sure you’ve heard slogans about “Shopping Local” and promotions for the day after Black Friday known as “Small Business Saturday.” The impact of shopping local goes beyond marketing slogans, and it certainly surpasses just one day of local shopping. When you purchase at a small family business in your community, your purchase has ripple effects. The following list includes the Chamber’s Top-10 ways you can make a positive difference by shopping at small shops for the holidays.

1. Help Grow Our Economy
Did you know that your taxable purchases in Atascadero help contribute to the fund for city-provided services like police, fire, libraries, senior services, and parks? These are all services that help keep you safe, and provide a greater sense of community and connection.

2. Create Jobs
Many business owners use local printers, accountants, media, farms, attorneys, artists, and others in our community. So when you shop from them – they shop from others. Additionally, say your favorite shop triples their sales, so they need to expand. In that case, they’ll need to hire more staff to help keep their business running, which means a lower unemployment rate and more job opportunities for our community. Everyone wins!

3. Enjoy Our Community Character
Our independent, small businesses in Atascadero’s downtown and throughout the city give Atascadero its distinct personality. This unique (and Atasca-amazing) character is a significant factor in the quality of life.

4. Strengthen Our Community
Atascadero businesses are operated by people who live here. Some of them may be your neighbors; others may have children in the same class as your kids; some may volunteer at the same non-profits as you. Local business owners are contributing daily, both inside and outside their store, to our community.

5. Jump Into The Festive Spirit
There’s just something warm and festive about shopping with your close loved ones. So, whether you’re purchasing gifts from local businesses online surrounded by family chiming in with present ideas, or shopping with family walking through the downtown, you’ll enjoy the holiday spirit.

6. Discover Unique Treasures
From hot chocolate bombs to artisan-crafted jewelry, you’re guaranteed to find things that you wouldn’t find in big-box retailers or on boring Amazon. Don’t give the same generic gift everyone else is giving. Shop local and find treasures that you won’t find anywhere else.

7. Try Before You Buy
Save time and money by trying on and out items before you purchase them. Sometimes it can make all the difference in the world just to hold the item you’re considering buying to ensure it’s just right. That’s the benefit of walking into a small business store.

8. Avoid The Crowds
During a pandemic is not the time you want to be surrounded by crowds in a big box retailer. Nothing jolly about that! When you shop small and local, you have space to peruse the items (without feeling like you’re a fish in a sardine can). Some of our local businesses are even offering shop-by-appointment options so that you can feel confident and safe as you shop for the holidays.

9. Enjoy Local Cuisine
All this shopping can sure work up an appetite, which is why we’re glad to have plenty of phenomenal local restaurants just within walking distance of the downtown (you’ll be able to find even more if you drive a bit). Between outdoor dining or take out, you’ll find it easy to grab and enjoy the meal you’re craving.

10. Take A Load Off With A Drink
Holidays can be stressful (now more than ever), which is why it’s nice to enjoy a glass of wine, a beer, or a cocktail after a long day of shopping. Just in Atascadero’s downtown, you’ll find wineries, breweries, and a distillery all within walking distance (there’s even more if you drive a little).

We know this year isn’t like all the others. It’s been full of challenges and uncertainty. But, what I am confident in is that your small choice to shop local intentionally can make a big difference for OUR community.

*If you’d like to find a full directory of local businesses in OUR community, please click here.



Josh Cross

Interim President & CEO of the Atascadero Chamber | Josh Cross

Josh Cross is a longtime Central Coast local, having grown up right here in Atascadero. He has a strong knowledge of governmental and community issues, in addition to economic development. Previously he worked as the Director of Economic Development for the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce, and has always been passionate about the incredible work Chambers can do for their community.