The worldwide pandemic hasn’t necessarily been the highlight of 2020. In addition to the pandemic taking tolls on schools, families, and stress levels, it has significantly impacted our small, local businesses in Utah. As the Director of Training Programs at Aquatics Academy in South Jordan, I have seen the extensive effects the pandemic has taken on our women-owned staff and company. Alliesha Reber, founder and owner of Aquatics Academy, noted that the pandemic has hit the service industry particularly hard. She stated, “the hardest part has been the unknown on what the government decides can and can’t be open during this time. With every news update, we pray we can keep our doors open.”

Many local, women-owned businesses have experienced similar challenges throughout the year and are counting on our local consumers to help them keep their doors open. This holiday season, supporting our local, women-owned businesses is essential as small businesses are the backbone of our economy. It’s easy to feel insignificant in this pursuit but many boss ladies have tips on how you can shop small and support women-owned this holiday season.

The most obvious way to support local businesses is to shop their online stores/social accounts or to visit their brick and mortar locations—if you are comfortable visiting in person. Kennadie and Courtney, co-owners at KCbead.Co, remind shoppers that many small businesses offer unique products or services that other big box stores don’t stock. They say, “every product we sell is hand-made so each gift is special.” Family members or friends will likely appreciate a thoughtful, unique gift this holiday season so find a local business you’d like to support.

Strengthening women-owned businesses doesn’t take more than a share, like, or comment on social media. We share information and ideas online almost every day. Taking time to show others your favorite local, women-owned business is all it takes to support local. As Lex, owner of KAXI, put it, “as a small business owner it means the very most when people cheerlead you on through social media and other avenues.” Take a look through your Instagram or Facebook page. What local company will you share about today?

Many women-owned businesses are service-based. Buying a product off an online store might not be as feasible. Instead of giving your family a physical gift, give the gift of experience. “Small businesses are the heart of this country. If I could do one thing this holiday season it would be to encourage people to shop small, give the gift of experiences, buy a gift card from somewhere you normally wouldn’t,” says Alliesha Reber. Some of the best memories are made while participating in a new activity or spending time doing something with those you love. See what activities your local, women-owned businesses offer.

Shopping and supporting women-owned businesses this holiday season can be done. During these crazy and, occasionally, discouraging times, feel confident in shopping small. Give your families and friends a unique, thoughtful gift all while supporting the dreams and hard work of women in Utah!

Not sure where to find women-owned businesses? Check out the links below to see women-owned businesses near you.

About the Guest Author: Ciera Kruser

Ciera Kueser grew up in South Jordan, UT & attended BYU pursuing a degree in communications with an emphasis in business management. During her time at BYU, she was a prominent member of many groups including the official BYU Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team & Utah’s Semi-Professional Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team which traveled the country competing against the best teams in the nation. She also spent time planning & hosting destination weddings & corporate events in Park City. Upon graduation, Ciera spent over a year and a half at Scalar, a full-service business valuation firm. Following her time at Scalar, Ciera joined the management team at Aquatics Academy as the Director of Training Programs. During her spare time, she enjoys teaching infant survival swimming lessons, working out & spending time with her husband.