Shop Local. Obviously. But Why?
Updated: Jul 19, 2020
So you're on our site (thank you for that!). This post was inevitable. But you'd be surprised at how few people know the reasons of why we should shop locally. Everyone says shop small, but why? We didn't know much either before starting this website, and maybe you don't. But no worries, our team has outlined three key reasons highlighting the importance of local businesses.
Reason #1: Local Economy
Here's a staggering statistic: Civic Economics determined that if a community's residents were to redirect only 10 percent of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would generate an additional $235 million a year in local economic activity, thus increasing the local tax base and standard of living.
Small businesses are in fact, the largest national employer; in 2015 the U.S. Small Business Administration reported 58.9 million jobs created by local businesses.
Switching gears to spending, taxpayer money pays for public infrastructure for stores, hotels, restaurants, and fast food. But how much of that money is returned? A study by Michigan State's Center for Community and Economic Development found that independent businesses generated the best net fiscal result at $326 per 1,000 square feet, vs big box retailers generating a fiscal deficit of -$426 per 1,000 square feet.
Reason #2: The Shopping Experience: Expert Service and Product Diversity
Now being in the shoes of a customer, local beats big business once again. For example, it's common to be disappointed when employees of large retail stores are unable to answer your questions. This service is also lost online through Amazon and other online retailers. Small business owners know their products like the back of their hand, and can give answers and personalize a customer's visit.
Sure, maybe Walmart may have 4-5 different kinds of bikes, pillows, or water bottles that you couldn't find in a small business, but none of those products are really special. If you want to buy someone the perfect one-of-a-kind gift, most small businesses ensure a wide range of products, many of which may be unique or handmade. You see, local businesses competing with other local businesses (rather than large chains) ensures innovation and product diversity. Many local businesses also cater their inventory and sell products based on community interest, whereas large franchises select products based off of national sales plans and demand.
Reason #3: Invest in Your Community
And finally, independent businesses keep towns and cities unique - bolstering the community's image, inviting visitors, and protecting it from being homogenized by mass corporations. Small business owners are the leaders of communities because their livelihoods depend on the people.
They're also much more charitable with studies showing that community non-profit organizations receive around 250% more support in monetary contributions from smaller business owners, than they do from large businesses.
And any money spent at a local business gets invested right back into the community. The Andersonville Study of Retail Economics found that for every $100 spent at a local business $68 stays in the community. Whereas $100 spent in chain stores returns only $43 to the community. Small businesses hire independent contractors, promotion agencies, and insurance companies, funneling their money back into the town - not to mention many of their products rely on locally-sourced materials or foods. (This also has an indirect benefit to the environment as well, because these businesses can get their products without relying too heavily on transportation or vehicle miles.)
The COVID-19 pandemic will get better with time and life will go on. But many businesses have to live with the massive blow that the pandemic struck, for years to come. Let's fight the urge of convenience and simplicity to help our businesses.