In an age of online shopping and big box stores, most everything we need is easily available with a few keystrokes. Sadly, most of what you get is fast, disposable and cheap. Shopping locally has never been more important.
1. Economy Local businesses are the backbone of our economy. Studies show that for every $100 spent locally, $45 will stay in that community, and $9 within province. When you spend that same $100 at international corporations only $14 stays in the community – mostly in way of payroll; the rest going to the corporation and out of country.
2. Creating Jobs Shopping locally creates a strong job market, keeping local workers from searching employment out of town. Local employers are more likely to pay higher average wages than internationally owned corporations.
3. Investing in Community Local businesses are owned by folks who live in your community who are passionately invested in the welfare and future of the community. Keeping your shopping dollars local is a great way to reinvest in your town. Charities are often supported by local business, too; meaning more access to supports like hospitals, clinics, schools & sporting teams.
4. Customer Service and Experience Local owners know their clientele, offering products suitable for your specific area; based on their customer’s choices rather than national trends. Also, if anything goes wrong you have a local company to go to, personal touches and local face-to-face customer service means strong customer relationships.
5. Shopping Online Many online retailers show deals that seem too good to be true, sadly this is often the case. Local shops offer very competitive pricing when you take the time to look; plus online, original prices tend to be inflated, making high-percentage discounts give false ideas of saving large. Independent companies can provide lots of great deals, too! Check locally before heading online.
6. Personality and Character The greatest thing about independent and small businesses is that people, not boards, and stockholders, run them! In a world increasingly dominated by chain stores all designed to look the same, independent businesses bring much-needed originality and variety to communities. Unique, one-of-a-kind shops aren’t only ‘stores’, they become destinations – these attractions in turn make your town a popular stop, which is great for all businesses.
7. Environmental Impact Choosing a local company over a chain has a positive impact on the environment. Small business’ usually set up shop in the Town/Village center, a centralized variety is much friendlier to a community than out-of-town shopping malls and box stores. Less city sprawl equals less congestion, habitat loss and pollution. Purchases online means shipping – deliveries and packaging for every individual item increases our carbon footprint. By purchasing locally we considerably reduce pollution as well as traffic, improving the quality of our communities.
8. Entrepreneurship Supporting local businesses means helping support an entrepreneur’s dream of growing a thriving business. Shopping only online giants or with big corporate retailers means many smaller owners are forced to close; the cost is lost jobs. Make shopping locally a tradition, and a lifelong way of purchasing; face to face with people from your community. Interaction and touch is something lacking in our online world, experiencing products in person is important. Without the creativity and innovative minds of local entrepreneurs, industries would not advance at the rate that they are.
So this year, focus locally on what your dollars can do. We have all heard the sentiments “When you buy from a local business, someone actually does a happy dance.” And, “No big box store is going to sponsor your child’s soccer team.” We all love convenience, but nothing is more convenient than a prosperous local economy – you are able to direct what your spending does, make where we raise our families and spend our time a great place to call ‘Home’.