You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Shop local. Think global.” before, and with good reason. Local businesses may be small on their own, but together, they play a major role in powering our economy. Now more than ever, they need our patronage. By shopping locally, you’ll bring major benefits to your community.
Supporting the Little Guy Has Huge Benefits
More money in your community: According to a Michigan study commissioned by Local First, West Michigan consumers keep $73 of every $100 spent in the community when they shop locally. When they shop outside the community, only $43 of every $100 stays in the community. “When profits stay local, it increases the community’s wealth, tax revenue, and standard of living,” says Sue Lynn Sasser, Professor of Economics at the University of Central Oklahoma.
More jobs: According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses have accounted for more than 65% of new jobs since the 1970s. That means more local employment opportunities.
Lower environmental impacts: Independent businesses usually have smaller footprints than national mega-stores, which means less energy consumption and fewer massive parking lots. Additionally, locally-made and grown goods don’t need to be shipped across the country, so they decrease traffic and pollution.
Better customer service: In independent shops, you’re often dealing directly with the owner who has a very personal stake in making sure you’re happy. Another bonus? They usually have the most in-depth knowledge of what they’re selling.
More support for community charities: Local businesses are more likely to donate to local causes. Non-profits receive 350% more money from local shops than non-locally owned businesses.
Special goods: Go into any chain store across the country, and you’ll find pretty much the same products. Boring! Local merchants offer a unique and creative range of products, styles, and options. If you’re looking for that one-of-kind item or gift, look on your street.
Tips to Help You Shop Locally
Shopping locally is easy and a lot more fun than staring at a computer screen and scrolling through the same products everyone else sees. Here are some ways you can help your local store owners.
Make a budget for it: Set aside money each month that you would normally spend and dedicate to spending it at independent shops. It could be the coffee house up the street, a birthday gift from a local artist, or lunch from that new deli.
Visit farmers markets: According to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, there are more than 7,000 farmers markets operating across the country. Everybody’s got to eat, right? And these markets aren’t just limited to produce. You’ll discover all kinds of local foods, crafts, music, and other products. It’s a great way to see what’s available in your area.
Use local services: Don’t forget to support independent businesses for services like laundry, vehicle repairs, handyman services, and more.
Search local online: Google Maps is a great way to see what small businesses are in your neighborhood. Other review sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor can reveal a treasure trove of local options you might not have known existed before.
Buy local online: In today’s world, most t local businesses have online offerings. Etsy, for example, lets you hone your search to find artists and makers in your area. Other apps, like Shopify, have a ‘Shop Local’ function that serves up a list of stores near your last delivery address.
So, if you want to feel really good about your next purchase, take a walk through your neighborhood and introduce yourself to your local business owners. You’ll be glad you did.