Sometimes buying local means using Amazon


I’m all for “buying local”. Really, I am. There’s nothing like supporting an individual or family that lives in, and gives back to, your own community!

The world seems to have a love/hate relationship with Amazon these days.

But sometimes — if you want to support a local seller, artisan, or author — you really have no choice but to do it through Amazon.

By all means, BUY LOCAL......but don't forget the little SELLERS and AUTHORS on Amazon! Share on X

Vendors v Sellers

Amazon has VENDORS, to whom they reach out to make contracts to buy their stuff in large quantities and resell it.

And then there are SELLERS, who reach out to Amazon in hopes of reaching more customers than they ever could on their own. Anyone can be a SELLER on Amazon, including otherwise-only-local mom and pop shops. Some of them have small shops or websites which are their primary business sites. And others ONLY sell on Amazon; there is no local shop to patronize.


And then there are AUTHORS (like me and MANY of my author friends) whose books are only (or mostly) sold on Amazon for a plethora of business reasons. (It’s far easier for you to ask your local independent bookshop to order our books for you, if you want to “buy local”, than it is for us to get copies on the shelves of all the bookshops.)


Small Business Category in Amazon Gift Guide

Amazon is featuring Small Businesses

Have you ever clicked on a SELLER’s name to learn more about it?

I noticed a Gift Guide that includes a Small Business category. I clicked on the image and started browsing. A family tree caught my eye and I saw that the SELLER’s name is FreshRetroGallery. I clicked on the name to learn more. I also did a Google search for that name. It turns out that owner Elizabeth Knaus only sells on Amazon and Etsy. (I picked this company at random and do not know her.) So, maybe the item I want is available on Etsy. Or maybe not. It’s definitely not something I can just drive to my local store for. (Especially since she lives in Minnesota and I live in Albuquerque!) If she did have a local store, though, I could purchase it there, once having discovered it online!

By all means, BUY LOCAL……but don’t forget the little SELLERS and AUTHORS on Amazon.

What are your thoughts?

Please leave a comment — I’d love to read it!


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  1. Lisa Tonjes Moritz on November 18, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Thanks for the reminder that there are people we know who are selling on Amazon!

  2. Seana Turner on November 18, 2020 at 11:20 am

    Very thought-provoking piece, Hazel. I think you make an excellent point that Amazon does not only benefit large businesses. It is the primary sales channel for many small businesses, and offers many smaller businesses a chance to reach a larger audience that they would with a brick and mortar store!

    • Hazel Thornton on November 19, 2020 at 5:29 pm

      Yes. And people should also keep in mind that just because their book or product is on Amazon doesn’t mean they’re making big bucks. LOL!

  3. Kathy Stone on November 18, 2020 at 11:37 am

    A great reminder that sometimes black and white boycotts hurt the ones we are trying to help!

  4. leslie josel on November 19, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing this Hazel.. and for writing it. I’d like to change the narrative from shop local to shop small business. That’s what we say and even remind people that small business means your virtual businesses too! Brava to you!

    • Hazel Thornton on November 19, 2020 at 5:30 pm

      That’s a good re-frame, Leslie! It’s what I’m saying, but you are more succinct.

  5. Phaedra Studt on November 20, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    I never knew about shopping with Small Business on Amazon. Amazon has made online shopping SO easy (which, let’s face it, with COVID cases ramping up again, online is just safer too). I appreciate knowing how I can support small businesses through Amazon, it’s like getting my cake and eating it too!

  6. Julie Bestry on November 21, 2020 at 1:37 am

    What an excellent reminder that we can support authors, artisans, and other local (even if not local to us) small businesses. Thank you so much for sharing about Small Business on Amazon!

  7. Jennifer Lava on November 22, 2020 at 9:36 am

    You make an excellent point Hazel. Thank you for pointing out more ways we can support small businesses and individual authors all over the country and world.

  8. Diane N Quintana on November 23, 2020 at 8:41 am

    I’m about to be a small business vendor on Amazon with my business partner, Jonda Beattie. She and I are about 2 or 3 weeks away from launching a new organizing product and will sell through Amazon. Thank you for this great post.

  9. Sabrina Quairoli on November 23, 2020 at 9:45 am

    I grew up with two small business-owner parents, and it has been my passion to help them and my other clients be more organized and successful over my career, so shopping small businesses is my priority. Amazon, but more so Etsy and others, make it possible to do that online. It just takes a little research. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  10. Linda Samuels on November 23, 2020 at 10:14 am

    I didn’t know there was a shop “small businesses” section on Amazon. Thank you for pointing that out. What you brought to light is that where we chose to spend our dollars matters. And with so many businesses struggling- large and small, it’s good to be aware of the impact we can have. I love to support small (and local) businesses when possible. As a small business and author (selling on Amazon,) I am so grateful for the customers and clients that have supported me. It matters. And especially during these challenging economic times, it can make the difference between staying or going out of business.

  11. Janet Schiesl on November 23, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Thanks for pointing this out. I think a lot of mom and pops are surviving by selling online and amazon is a good option because so many people go there and understand how it works.

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