Two business owners standing outside their shop laughing.
Research from online wholesale marketplace Faire has found that consumers are willing to travel farther and spend more money to support local businesses in their community. — Getty Images/miniseries

Local retail shops take note: Consumers’ “love for local” means they’re willing to travel farther and spend more money to support businesses in their community, according to Faire, a leading online wholesale marketplace that connects locally-owned and operated shops with brands to stock their stores.

Faire’s Main Street Shopping report found that consumers are willing to spend an additional $150 a month, on average, to contribute to the success of local stores. The research also revealed more than 65% of Americans visit local shopping districts several times a month and will even travel up to 30 minutes to these retailers.

“Local retailers have always played an incredibly important role in what makes a city or town feel unique,” said Faire co-founder and CEO, Max Rhodes. “In recent years, they've really leaned into their superpowers of curation, agility, and community-building to meet the growing demand from consumers who want to feel connected and shop their values.”

With strong interest from local shoppers, retailers have the unique opportunity to engage with customers and provide experiences they can’t get at big-box stores. Here are five ways you can build a community around your small business retail shop.

[RSVP! Located in Colorado? Check out Indie Retail Fest, hosted by Faire, on June 1 in Denver.]

Highlight your local business identity

Make sure your shop’s local roots are evident in everything from the products you offer to the marketing stories you tell. Make it clear to your customers that you source your inventory from local artisans or that your store participates in community events. Put up signs that display the local ties your product has and advertise your involvement in community events.

Loyal, local customers want to know your personal connection to the area. Build the history of your business, its local tie, and why local shoppers should support your brand. Tell your story on your website, social media platforms, and in-store as an easy marketing strategy.

Curate a unique community shopping experience

Almost 90% of local retailers surveyed told Faire they focus on personalized customer service and curated product selections. Why? Because this is something consumers can’t always get from larger competitors.

A shopping environment that is both unique and reflective of the local culture and community can attract and retain a loyal customer base. Consider the layout and design of your store to encourage interaction and discovery. Exclusive in-store events like new product launches, seasonal offerings, or artist collaborations can transform routine shopping into a community event. An in-store event can also cultivate a sense of belonging and engagement among your customers.

Partner with other local small businesses

According to Faire’s research, a majority of retailers are focused on establishing partnerships with other local businesses to set them apart from larger competitors. These partnerships can be through joint promotions, shared loyalty programs, and even co-hosted events.

For instance, you could consider a “shop local” initiative that rewards customers for visiting multiple nearby businesses within a certain timeframe, which increases exposure for each participating store. Some consumers may even be encouraged to find local offerings they might not have visited otherwise. These collaborations can be particularly popular during local festivals or holiday seasons when community spirit is high and consumers are more inclined to support local economies.

Partnerships can also include working with local small business suppliers and brands. Products sourced locally will not only showcase local talent but enhance your shop’s unique appeal as a brand that supports its own community. These partnerships can amplify your collective reach, strengthen the entire community's economic base, and contribute to a vibrant, interconnected community.

“The most powerful and thriving Main Streets around the country are lined with retailers that promote and empower the unique local businesses and products from their respective communities,” said Rhodes. “Shoppers crave experiences and the thrill of discovering something that feels truly new. It's hard to replicate the feeling of walking into a store filled with items unique to its location and talking with the person who personally curated everything on the shelves.”

Shoppers crave experiences and the thrill of discovering something that feels truly new. It's hard to replicate the feeling of walking into a store filled with items unique to its location and talking with the person who personally curated everything on the shelves.

Max Rhodes, co-founder and CEO, Faire

Participate in community events

Active participation in local events can help boost your retail business’s reputation. Faire's report indicated engagement in community activities not only strengthens relationships with existing customers but also attracts new ones.

Make your business a recognizable local fixture by participating in festivals, markets, and other community gatherings. Take it a step further and volunteer to organize or sponsor an event to reinforce your business’s commitment to the local economy and its residents. Perhaps your retail shop has enough space to host a workshop, talk, or live demonstration about your products or services.

Charity events or local causes create opportunities to enhance your reputation as a business that cares about more than just profits. Your involvement could look like:

  • Setting up a back-to-school supply drive for local schools.
  • Serving as a drop-off location for the food bank.
  • Offering sidewalk space for local animal shelter adoptions.

With events taking place at your business, people will begin to think of your business as a hub of activity and support within the community.

Engage with local community members and organizations on social media

Identify and follow local groups, businesses, influencers, and community figures on social media. Share their content, participate in local hashtags, and contribute to community discussions. Social media creates an opportunity for local retailers to connect with their communities and enhance their visibility and engagement while showcasing their active participation in the community.

Faire found that nearly 85% of Gen Z and a significant majority of millennials shop locally at least a few times a month and are enthusiastic about promoting local businesses to their networks. Focusing on strong visual content and engaging stories about your community involvement and business values can help increase engagement among these large consumer groups. User-generated content, like reviews and product highlights, can also increase your visibility and appeal with Gen Z shoppers who tend to spend the most time on social media.

Running targeted social media campaigns around the holidays or when local events occur will build awareness around your business.. These social media campaigns could:

  • Build a narrative around your community commitment and involvement.
  • Share a personal story behind your business and its founding story.
  • Show exclusive behind-the-scenes content or new inventory drops.
  • Serve as word-of-mouth marketing.

Overall, embracing consumers’ "love for local" presents a rich opportunity for independent retailers to create a thriving community-centric shopping experience that leads to long-term business success.

“The magic of local retail lies in its ability to build community and cultural connection,” said Rhodes. “When retailers lean into this strength, they continue to reclaim market share and consumer support.”

For more information on how to elevate your retail strategies and to explore a vast selection of wholesale retail items that can differentiate your shop, visit