We all know how easy and convenient it is to pop onto an app and order items we need with just a few taps of our fingers. Large chains and web-based retailers offer large selections, one-stop shopping, and usually more competitive pricing. But did you know that shopping local, and keeping your hard-earned money local has a number of advantages? Here’s info on those advantages and ways you can conveniently make an impact by shopping locally!
Stronger Economies- Local businesses, hire local workers! Not just workers for their stores, but local contractors, local banking, local insurance, local marketers and more! Numerous studies have shown that at least half, and many times more than half, of each dollar spent in a local store returns to the local economy. Local businesses are also less susceptible to national downturns. They are more likely to work harder to stay open and more conscious of how their decisions may affect the community they work and possibly live in.
Better Quality of Life- Investment in your local economy has been proven to improve quality of life for local residents. Growth and competition on the local level create a circle of success and opportunity. It enables communities to have a wider range of offerings, strengthening and diversifying local businesses, providing the community with all of their needs being met near home. This increases the local community “livability” scores, raises the desirability for home buying, schools, and as a travel destination. All of which increase the community revenue and heighten recognition and perception. These one-of-a-kind businesses are what make the local community a wonderful place to live.
Creates Community & Personal Connections- Shopping locally gives neighbors and business owners a chance to connect. It’s easier to get to know someone you often see at a local establishment, than someone you only wave to as you pass by. Business owners also make it a goal to know their customers. They may see you coming and have your favorite coffee order ready, know when it’s your birthday, or just be the friendly face you need that day! These relationships can make asking for help, supporting local events or charities, sharing ideas (or a cup of sugar) much easier, and will improve quality of life!
Diverse Products & Product Experts- Most often, local businesses will carry inventory you can’t find at national chains and retailers. When business owners choose products, they are doing so based on what their customers and community want. They will often carry unique items and items from local farmers and artisans. They will also be well-informed about their products, and willing to offer special tips, tricks, or tidbits about their inventory.
Cleaner Community- Shopping locally ultimately will positively impact the environment. Less gas is spent and expended driving your vehicles to stores and in long-distance transporting of goods, which results in fewer carbon emissions and less air pollution. Buying local produce can result in less food waste.
So now you know a few of the benefits, and are wondering how to start making an impact, right? Well, here are some easy ways to get started shopping locally to support your local businesses!
- Pledge to shop locally for services. Usually, these will be less expensive and closer to home! Your local print shop, cleaners, mechanics, or salon will frequently have better deals or standard pricing. Often, they will provide a more satisfactory, personalized service.
- Shop locally for the holidays. This often provides a more sentimental and personal gift for your loved ones. Great days to look for deals are Black Friday (Friday following Thanksgiving) and Small Business Saturday (Saturday following Thanksgiving).
- Buy gift cards! Don’t have time to shop, just purchase a gift card. Many local shops will even sell these on their websites and over the phone, and oftentimes will be willing to mail them to you or your recipient!
- Eat locally! Start with your local Famer’s Market or small grocery store. Look for restaurants unique to your community. More often than not, these businesses offer higher quality foods, locally grown items, and are more sustainably sourcing their products. Frequently, menus will change for the season, and you can enjoy one-of-a-kind meals. And maybe consider tipping a little more locally than you would elsewhere!
- Bank locally! Buy using a community bank or credit union, this literally keeps your money in your community. Many locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same services as the national banks, such as credit cards and online bill payment but oftentimes with lower rates and fees. You are also more likely to experience great customer service and more personalized service. This is due to the small percentage of customers, allowing them to tailor to your needs. They are also known for supporting the local economy. Because small local banks make most of their loans within the community, they have an interest in helping that community prosper.
- Follow Local Businesses on social media! Follow them, like, and share their posts. Let your friends know all about the amazing local businesses you love. Everyone loves a good recommendation, and this is a way you can advocate for local businesses! Signing up for their email lists and leaving positive reviews online are other great ways to show support.
ILSR (Institute for Local Self-Reliance)
IEDC (International Economic Development Council)