Shop local without leaving your home: Merchants go online

It’s more important than ever to support area businesses, and it’s now easier to find them on the web.

Americans are expected to spend just under $1,000 each during the winter holidays, according to the National Retail Federation.

That’s about $50 dollars less than last year.

City leaders and Snohomish County officials hope you’ll spend some of those greenbacks locally.

To make it easier, the county launched an online directory of food and wares offered by small businesses across the region.

SupportSnoCo.com went live on Black Friday with more than 110 business listings plus the very free Willis Tucker Off Leash dog area in Snohomish.

“This year has been hard for so many people, including small business owners and their employees. It’s more important than ever to rally for the community,” county officials wrote in a blog post on the site.

The county site joins online shopping directories for Edmonds, Bothell, Lynnwood, Everett, Arlington, Marysville – Tulalip, Snohomish and Stanwood.

The retail federation estimates this year that about half of consumers will eschew in-store visits and stick to shopping online.

In response, more independent retailers and boutiques have begun offering online shopping options.

One Everett store that recently added a virtual gallery is J. Matheson Gifts, Kitchen & Gourmet.

Store owner Judy Matheson said she hopes to expand the site and add more products over the next couple of months.

In a recent survey by American Express, 62% of small businesses reported that they would need to see consumer spending return to pre-COVID-19 levels by the end of this year to remain in business.

Patronizing local, independent businesses returns to the community up to three times as much money per dollar spent compared to the return on chain retailers, according to a study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

For every $100 spent at an independent retailer, $45 is returned to the community in support of other businesses, compared to $14 for the large chain stores, the study said.

Shop locally, in-person or virtually

Arlington: The Arlington Farmers Market, an outdoor market, will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Legion Park, 200 North Olympic in Arlington

Edmonds: The Edmonds Holiday Market, an outdoor market, will be held Saturday and Dec. 12 and Dec. 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The market is between Edmonds City Hall, at 121 5th Ave. N., and the Edmonds Historical Museum, 118 5th Ave. N.

Everett: The Everett Farmers Market will be a virtual shopping venue over the holidays.

Some vendors plan to participate in a live-streamed market from Saturday through Dec. 9. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/events/3465961966774965.

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