In leaner times, consumers pinch pennies and eliminate most luxuries. From cutting back on extras to more prudent spending and budgeting, people inject a degree of caution into their financial habits.
It’s tough these days for local businesses to stay open. They face stiff competition from big-box chain stores and online retailers, which usually offer lower prices and a more extensive selection. And the pandemic has made things worse, as many small business owners were forced to shut their doors or move their businesses online.
If you want to see your town’s local businesses survive and prosper, you have to go the extra mile — or more accurately, stay close to home — to shop there.
In such a volatile environment, smaller, local businesses count on your patronage in order to stay afloat; every transaction is precious to them. So when deciding where to spend your hard-earned dollars on tonight’s dinner or a gift for a friend, consider the benefits of turning to local, independently-owned businesses within your community.
There are far-reaching advantages to deciding to “shop local.” By supporting local businesses, you are in turn supporting your local economy; significantly more money stays in a community when purchases are made at locally owned – rather than nationally owned – businesses.
The U.S. Small Business Association and the U.S. Department of Labor report the positive impacts of small, independent businesses on local economies.
- Local businesses are more likely to utilize other local businesses such as banks, service providers, and farms.
- For every $100 you spend at local businesses, $68 will stay in the community.
- Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to the community in which they operate than chain competitors. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national restaurant chains.
- Small businesses employ 77 million Americans and accounted for 65% of all new jobs over the past 17 years.
In addition to helping build the local economy, there are also notable intangible benefits that come from supporting businesses in your local community.
- Local businesses are owned and operated by your neighbors! They care about and are invested in the well-being of your community and its future.
- Local businesses are more accountable to their local communities and donate more money to non-profits.
- Supporting local businesses is good for the environment because they often have a smaller carbon footprint than larger companies.
It isn’t always the easiest or most convenient option to visit a local independent business rather than a large national chain that might be down the street. However, there are plenty of ways you can help support your local economy by thinking local first:
- Try the menu at a local restaurant for lunch or dinner
- Purchase a birthday present at a local gift shop
- Join a local gym
- Visit a local nursery or hardware store for your lawn and garden needs
- Get your car serviced at a local mechanic
- Visit a farmer’s market to purchase the ingredients for your family dinner.
Top 10 Reasons to Shop Local First
- To shape and preserve our distinctive community character
- Local competition and diversity leads to more product choices
- It keeps and recirculates money in our community
- You’ll help support local job and opportunity creation
- It reduces environmental impact locally
- Because local businesses reinvest in our community
- It strengthens the local economy
- Because the local businesses help fund local non-profits
- To ensure that tax dollars stay local
- It encourages community pride and ownership
So the next time you need to run out for some groceries or do a little shopping, seek out a local business and see what they have to offer! You could discover some great products and services while helping to build a strong and successful community around you.
When you invest money in your local economy, you’re not just helping local business owners — you’re also helping yourself. You’re making your town a better place to live in, with a rich character, thriving economy, and tightly knit community. And the more local businesses prosper, the more new ones will open, making it even easier to continue shopping locally in the future.
Join the conversation and tell us about a great local business in your community: firstname.lastname@example.org