Shop local can also mean online

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Stacey Tinsley/Bossier Press-Tribune A shopper looks at gifts at Balentine & Co. Jewelers.

Stacey Tinsley | Bossier Press-Tribune

Shopping local is more important than ever this holiday season. As consumers begin thinking about the impending holidays and gift-giving, consider buying local and even better, buy local online.

Small businesses have already faced unprecedented challenges in 2020, and the holiday season appears set to bring plenty of its own challenges, amid a shaky economy and continued concerns about another wave of coronavirus infections.

That could spell trouble for small businesses for whom the holiday season has an outsized impact on revenue.

With limited capacity still in stores, people standing in line six feet apart, wearing a mask to nab deeply discounted items, and big box stores rolling out holiday deals earlier than past years, how are small local businesses able to compete? 

The answer: many small local businesses have ventured into the realm of online shopping for their customers.

Local family-run business, Balentine & Co Jewelers, is one of those businesses.

“Being a small business during a pandemic was, in short, unnerving.  Going into it we had no idea how long it would last, and quite honestly, how we would support our staff without that regular customer flow.  It was definitely a blind trust moment for us in our faith,” Alexis Balentine-Schmaltz, manager of Balentine & Co Jewelers, said.

“Our big pandemic project was setting up an online shop. So, all of our in-store inventory is online as well at balentinejewelers.com/shop,” she added.

Online shopping gives local customers the same shopping experience as they would when they would normally visit the store to shop, while practicing social distancing and CDC guidelines. Balentine & Co Jewelers is offering other options for customers to shop.

“We’re really going to push our personal shopping service this season. Simply text us 318-421-3537 or contact us through our posted info. Let us know your budget and a general idea of what you’re looking for, we’ll send you options and ideas (doing all the hard work for you), and even gift wrap it for you.  We’re offering contactless payment options.  Pick it up in-store, curbside, or we can even schedule a free local delivery,” said Balentine-Schmaltz.

As big-box stores have rolled out their early holiday deals, Balentine & Co Jewelers has done the same.

“Our holiday sales are now in-store, up to 30% off regular price! We’ll be adding those deals to the website soon. Due to COVID, we unfortunately won’t be doing our customer favorite in-store events, but stay tuned for some fun-filled live events on Facebook and Insta!,” Balentine-Schmaltz said.

“When you shop local, you really are supporting members of your own community. You get to know them and their families, and you’re more than just a transaction to that business. My kid plays ball with my clients’ children. When we go out for dinner, we’re frequently in our customers’ restaurants. It’s this beautiful circle of supporting and encouraging one another.  Also, you really can’t beat the service of a local business,” she added.