Do you have a loved one who’s hard to shop for? Is this the year to take your holiday gift-giving to the next level?

Avoid the crowds during Black Friday and try something a little different… shopping local for the holidays.

When you shop local for the holidays, you not only support small businesses, you’ll also find surprisingly unique gifts that your family members will love.

In Tucson, Proper Shops at 300 E. Congress St. and Tucson Trades, a market event at the Tucson Convention Center, bring together artisans, fashion designers, carpenters, stationery makers and more under one roof.

How about checking off your shopping list with a handcrafted cutting board made from a monsoon-downed tree? Custom jewelry? Handbags, clothing or art?

Locally owned retailers offer the types of beautiful, heartfelt gifts no big box store can match.

“Many times you’ll find that products and services provided by local business owners are more affordable, unique and memorable, especially during the holidays,” says Local First Arizona Director of Retail Entrepreneurship Sophia Lovasz. “It’s as easy as purchasing a pair of earrings at a boutique instead of a national retailer or reaching for locally made Shamrock milk at the grocery store for your eggnog.”

Search for the perfect local retailer near you with the Local First Arizona Business Directory at

Shopping local online

Maybe you’d rather not shop in person. How about ordering from home?

Explore gifts from the comfort of your couch with the Shop Local First Marketplace, a site dedicated to Arizona small businesses selling everything from bath and body goods to books and home decor to sweet treats and more. Ship anywhere, rep your hometown pride and give your loved ones a taste of Arizona at

As a bonus, small businesses on the Shop Local First Marketplace pay no fees to use the platform – unlike Amazon, which takes as much as 45% of vendors’ revenue.

“When you’re looking to surprise your loved ones this holiday season, turn to locally owned businesses to find the most memorable gifts and delicious foods,” Lovasz says. “Data shows that companies owned by Arizonans are more likely to create jobs, keep prices affordable and give back to the community. Locally made products also help the environment by reducing shipping waste and providing higher quality.”

Shop small and make a big impact

This year, Small Business Saturday is Nov. 25, when holiday shoppers are encouraged to shift a portion of their Black Friday spending from chain stores to local retailers.

Why does it matter?

Besides gifts being more personalized and locally grown foods being more tasty, your dollar goes further to help your community. Studies show that:

  • For every $100 spent at a local business, $45 stays in the community, while only $13 does when you buy at a chain store.
  • For every two jobs that a big box store creates, three jobs are lost from local businesses.
  • For every $10 million in sales, Amazon will support 14 jobs, while independent retailers will support 110 jobs.

“Shifting even a small amount of our personal spending to local businesses can make a huge difference,” Lovasz adds.

Three ways to shop locally

There are three easy ways to shop locally this holiday season:

  • Search the Local First Business Directory to find independently owned stores near you:
  • Visit the Shop Local First Marketplace to find Arizona-made gifts online and ship anywhere:
  • Explore the Good Food Finder to find locally grown foods for your holiday meals: