Want to Help Small Shops this Season? Volunteer with the Localist!

I want to buy local as much as I can this Christmas — but I also want to take supporting local businesses a step further. Chances are, you’re feeling the same way. But, besides buying local, what can we do?

Well, I’m throwing together a little project that I’m calling The Local List. (Get it — it sounds like “localist.”) I want to create a resource listing Birmingham-area shops that are locally owned, and gather up-to-date holiday shopping information about them in one place. That way, it’ll be easier for shoppers to get details about their favorite shops, discover new local favorites, and maybe even remember to stop by some shops they haven’t visited in awhile.

I can handle getting the list online, but I’ll need some help putting it together in the first place, so I’m asking Localist readers and listeners to help by emailing local businesses and asking them to fill out a Google Form with updated holiday information. Want to help? It takes less than an hour.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Claim 5 businesses from this spreadsheet. (Want to claim a business not listed! Add it and claim it!)
  2. Send each business this Google form to fill out. (Here’s a sample email in case you want to just copy it!)
  3. Sign up to the Localist email list to find out when the list is live! (This step is optional, of course.)


Can I claim less than 5 businesses? More than 5?

Sure! If you have time to do just one or two businesses, that’s cool! If you want to do more, that’s great! If you own a business and just want to fill out a form for yourself, that’s awesome! You can also pick up more as you go, so if you just want to commit to one or two now and grab more later, no problem.

Can I send the form to businesses not on the list?

Absolutely! This is definitely a “the more, the merrier” kind of thing. Just add their name to the list and be sure to claim them!

Do I have to turn in the shop owner’s response?

Nope! Because you’ll be asking them to fill out a Google Form, I’ll get the response as soon as they submit it. You don’t have to keep up with continuing emails.

Where is all this info going?

I’ll display the full list at thelocalistbham.com by Thanksgiving. (Currently, that address is just pointing to my blog, but I’ll change it up once the page is built!) We’ll let you know when it’s live so you can share it!

When is the deadline?

We’ll need all responses in by November 20 in order to make our deadline, so the sooner the better!

Aren’t there already lists like this?

Yes, there are local shopping lists — but they all have different criteria. Some require the business owner to pay a fee. Some list any business, not just locally owned ones. Some were compiled before COVID and don’t have up-to-date policies. We’re not anti any other list; we just want to make sure there’s a list that’s dedicated to local buying and that includes recent information.

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