Buy Local, Pay Local—with Yiftee and Holly Shopping

Most people understand the value of shopping locally. It supports the local economy, and it’s vital for local makers and entrepreneurs. Research supports it, university publications encourage it, even Forbes, a global media company, is on the “shop local” bandwagon. And the benefits are nearly endless, with a far larger percentage of money recirculating through the local economy when spent at local businesses.



One particular study, the Andersonville Study in Chicago concluded that local businesses outperform chains in four major ways: wages and benefits paid to local residents, profits earned by local owners, purchases of local goods and services for resale and internal use, and contributions to local nonprofits. Notably, they found that for every $100 spent locally, as much as $73 stays in the local economy through the aforementioned activities, while only $43 stays local when you buy through a chain.

Pay Local

It’s clear that shopping locally is beneficial to communities. And recently, people are thinking even bigger, recognizing the burden that credit card fees can put on small businesses. Take your daily coffee as an example. The 25 cent fee a business pays for you to use your credit card might not seem like much. But over the course of a year—if they sell, say, 100 cups a day to credit card customers—your favorite local coffee shop could pay over $9,000 in fees. When you pay with cash or gift cards, though, all those fees begin to disappear.


Noticing the potential impact on small business, and since cash can be cumbersome, the community decided to come up with a solution. The Downtown Fort Wayne gift card (powered by Yiftee) streamlines your buy-local, pay-local experience. Yiftee gives cities a way to crowdsource the fees that a business would pay. By cutting out big banks and allowing the card buyer to cover those fees, it keeps more dollars local.


If the ethos and rationale behind Yiftee isn’t enough, it comes with quite a few other perks. Through Downtown Fort Wayne’s Yiftee gift card, giftees can shop and spend at over 35 different Downtown retailers and restaurants, giving them plenty of options. There’s something for everyone, making it an easy gift solution for anyone who’s community-oriented, or if you’re shopping for someone who you might not know very well, like a teacher or colleague. Access the the list of participating locations.


Another benefit of gifting Yiftee? It’s paperless, so you can feel good about giving a waste-less gift. And because it’s digital, you can even wait until the last minute to give (procrastinators rejoice!). All you need is the name of the recipient and their email address. 


Have a lot of people on your shopping list? Yiftee can help with that too! Yiftee offers a “Volume Discount Program,” which gives purchasers access to reduced or waived fees for purchases of $1,000 or more—making it a great option if you have employees or clients you’d like to treat for the holidays. 


Overall, Yiftee is easy to give, offsets small business costs, and offers a variety of shopping and experiences to its recipients. It’s a win-win-win. You can purchase your Downtown Fort Wayne Yiftee gift card here

Buy Local

Once you have your Downtown Fort Wayne gift card in your phone (and maybe a little cash in your pocket) where should you spend it? With Holly Shopping, Downtown Fort Wayne’s celebration of Small Business Saturday, shopping locally is easy-as-pie. 


Holly Shopping provides a curated shopping experience of 48 retailers located Downtown and throughout Downtown’s nearby corridors. Catch the Holly Trolley or take a CTN bus and explore shops within DTFW’s 99 blocks and beyond, including: Wells Street Corridor, all the way to Earth Adventures on Main, and down to Electric Works on Broadway, where you’ll find Union Street Market’s Holiday Artisan Market pop-up.


One day a year is hardly enough to support a thriving local economy, but if Amazon or Temu has become your go-to, use Holly Shopping as an excuse to give local shopping a shot (and have a little fun in the process).


Access the map and guide to Downtown Fort Wayne’s 2023 Holly Shopping experience. If you love a good deal, check out our specials page for the latest. Or have a look at our 2022 shopping guide for a more detailed look at some of Downtown’s best local shopping.


Holly Shopping and Small Business Saturday is November 25, 2023, from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Learn more

Shop Small Year-Round

In an ever-increasingly global economy, it can be all-too-easy to sit on the couch and order everything you need and more…and more. But when you shop at small businesses, more of your money stays here. More people, more nonprofits, and more businesses benefit. Nevermind all the steps you’ll get in!


So this holiday season, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Sankranti, Saint Nicholas Day, Monito Monita, Bodhi Day, Posadas Navideñas, Yule, Christmas, or nothing at all, spend your hard-earned dollars where they’ll stay close, benefitting you and your neighbors for years to come. And when the holiday season has passed, shop small for the rest of the year, too!

Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.