Support Your Local Businesses This Holiday Season

December 16, 2020

The holiday season in Arlington is officially here, marked by the typical frigid and rainy weather that leaves us anticipating a flurry of snow. Whether you have been blasting Christmas music since June or trying to avoid it until Thanksgiving, decorations are up and the shopping, perhaps America’s most prideful practice, has begun; but if you are going to spend your hard-earned money this holiday season, do so at a local business.

According to a report by the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), The National Retail Federation expects 2020 holiday sales to rise between 3.6% and 5.2% year over year, amounting to between $755.3 billion and $766.7 billion. 21st-century developments in technology have made it even easier to recklessly burn digital dollars with the click of a button, and the behemoth Amazon overshadows the success of cherished local businesses. With COVID-19 reaching record heights daily, it is even easier for customers to go with the safe, online option. These choices only prove to worsen the financial burdens and economic competition that your neighborhood stores face.

Small businesses provide a sense of culture and community, some of which have stood since each neighborhood’s establishment. Entering your local coffee shop or bakery, you might wave to the manager or ask the barista you recognize for “the usual.” This same effect just does not occur when shopping at a conventional CVS or Safeway.

When you walk into a store in Arlington like The Italian Store in Lyon Village or Trade Roots in Westover, you are immediately engulfed by the history and character of them. 

An interview by Virginia Smith for The Center for Local History with founder Robert Tramonte explains the sense of community established early on at The Italian Store in Lyon Village, which opened in 1980.

“People were anxious to have this new store open and we had a core of people I felt the first couple years that were Italian and they really supported us and they went out of their way to spend money to make sure that we survived. We knew their names. They knew us. We knew exactly what their order was going to be. We would put things aside, special ordered for them and they really helped us in the beginning,” Tramonte said.

Shopping at delicious, family-owned cafes and restaurants like The Italian Store not only leaves you with an appetizing sandwich or pizza slice. It will also leave you in high spirits knowing that your business helped each of these stores thrive and prevent their replacement with some wallpaper Starbucks. 

However, food isn’t the only delicacy available at local shops during the holidays.

Trade Roots, a quaint cafe and gift shop, is located in Westover and can be found by the colorful Himalayan flags that surround its outdoor seating area. Along with this safe eating option, Trade Roots has an abundance of jewelry and novelties handmade from different countries around the world. These unique and original items provide the perfect and meaningful gift for a loved one this holiday season.

All this gift shopping for your friends and family may just leave your mouth watering for something to get yourself. The chocolates and candies we find ourselves craving all winter long are one of the most enjoyable parts of this time of year, and what better place to get them than the cherished Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe.

Found on Culpepper Street across from Langston community center, Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe is one of Arlington’s most renowned and delicious stores and has been conjuring sigh-provoking delights since 1975. 

One of the many things to love about Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe is its manager and founder, Wolfgang Büchler, who is oftentimes outside the store welcoming and recognizing his customers–young and old.

Shops like the Heidelberg Pastry Shoppe, which has crafted cakes for presidents and senators in the nation’s capital, remind us of the significance of local businesses.

Former President Barack Obama stressed the importance of supporting small businesses in an Instagram post last month.

“While in office, one of our family’s traditions was visiting a couple of nearby small businesses for Small Business Saturday — and we’d always make a stop at a bookstore to find some books to read for the holidays. Although everyone’s traditions might look different this year, we can still find ways to support these terrific small businesses,” Obama said.

Whether it’s sweets, gifts or a good book you crave for the holidays, shopping at local businesses are an easy and heartwarming way to spend money this season rather than supporting the growth of large corporate companies and turning your lovely neighborhood villages into concrete strip-malls. 

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