Every day, you make purchasing decisions that impact your local economy. When you choose a locally owned business, that impact is much more positive than you may realize. That’s because you’re not simply spending money; you’re helping to improve the overall health and vitality of your community, in many different ways.
To be clear, we’re not here to bash the national chains. For certain items, big box stores and online retailers may well offer lower prices or greater convenience. And that can be the deciding factor when you need to save money or time. We get it. But shopping locally doesn’t necessarily mean paying more. And it offers a host of key benefits to you and the community.
Boosting the local economy. When you direct your dollars to local businesses, you’re keeping that money within the community, which helps to support local jobs and economic growth. Studies show that, compared to chains, independent businesses return a far higher percentage of revenues to their local areas.
Reinforcing the unique character of your community. Think of your favorite local bakery or restaurant, the quirky local book or music store, the shop that carries special items you can’t find anywhere else. As the retail landscape grows more homogenized, these kinds of businesses help give your hometown its distinctive flavor, and should never be taken for granted.
Supporting local causes. Small businesses typically play a major role in supporting local charities, youth organizations, and other important causes. When you help local businesses thrive, you’re indirectly contributing to the missions of many charitable organizations and reinforcing those community bonds.
Reducing your carbon footprint. Shopping locally can also have a positive environmental impact. Small businesses often sell products that are locally made, with locally sourced components or ingredients that require less transportation and therefore cause less traffic and pollution.
Celebrating local entrepreneurship. For many small business owners, running a successful company is the essence of the American dream. They tend to be risk takers and creative thinkers who are deeply engaged with the community. They work hard to stand apart from their national competitors and provide the goods and services local residents need. This entrepreneurial spirit should always be encouraged and rewarded.
Another big benefit for shoppers: owners of local businesses place a high priority on customer service. Unlike big chains, they often employ people with strong knowledge of the products you’re looking to buy, and are happy to provide the help you need to make informed decisions. And if you have an issue with something you’ve purchased, you’re likely to have an easier time resolving it.
For all these reasons, and many more, we urge you to patronize local businesses. It’s often said that small business is the backbone of the American economy. It’s certainly true of your local economy as well. Next time you need to do some shopping, we hope you keep these factors in mind.