Wandering the smaller downtown shops locally or in another city is an experience you can’t miss out on. There’s just something that compels you to investigate each little store that you come across, usually because every store is different. These are prime examples of local character, and the creativeness that flows through the people of each location.
Not only is it an experience that is looked upon fondly, but it is also an experience that ought to be pursued for economic reasons too. There is really only one major difference between what makes a local business and what makes a chain, and that is us, the consumers.
Buying locally is lauded as supporting your community and not helping out the big, evil corporations threatening to take over, but there’s more to it than that. Supporting businesses that are local helps with things like:
1. Maintaining Local Character and Prosperity
Communities that are still unique have economic advantages. Many large chains and bigger stores that are not local are contributing to a homogenized experience. Sure, it can be convenient, but it’s also uninteresting. Nobody thrives in areas that are all the same as one another.
2. Maintaining the Well Being of the Community
Locally owned businesses sustain the vibrancy of small-town life, and the relationships built there. Local realtors who know the community, for instance, will know the best neighborhoods for your station and interests in life. Neighbors are linked by social and economic means, and when you contribute to that system, you become a part of it. This system, in turn, contributes to local causes that increase the overall well being of the area, which means the value is never lost. Economic means are continually reinvested.
3. Local Decision-Making
By supporting a local business, you ensure that those small businesses and yourself have an opinion in important decisions. Whether it’s hiring a local office cleaning service, finding the best mattresses offered at stores in your area, or discovering discounted local dental services, going local will help you make smart decisions that can also save you money.
5. Job and Wages
A local business that is thriving from your support will have more jobs to offer closer to home. This means less commute for those who live among the business, as well as enriching that reinvestment aspect that these communities are famous for. In addition, better benefits and wages than a large chain can provide are often offered by local businesses.
America is known for its entrepreneurship based mixed capitalism economy. Entrepreneurship is the fuel for prosperity and innovation economically. Supporting this aspect at the local level with small businesses means that it is also supporting the founding principles of the national economy. It paves the way for individuals to move up from lower waged jobs, into a more equal middle class.
On the other side of this, if you yourself are an entrepreneur who wants to make your local business stand out, look into working with an SEO company that will optimize your local presence or outsourcing your localized social media marketing. By making yourself stand out as a local business, you can take advantage of the trend in supporting local businesses and make yourself stand out as a business in the community.
7. Public Benefits and Costs
Because they are often smaller, local shops will require significantly less infrastructure to build and maintain. They are known for making efficient use of the public services available to them, especially as compared to big box stores or shopping malls.
8. Environmental Sustainability
The sustainability extends beyond the small shops themselves. They are also more environmentally friendly. Large chains and stores require more resources, especially in the form of parking, and also contribute more to habitat loss and pollution of water and air. Local stores aid in supporting compact and walkable town squares, reducing their environmental footprint.
We’ve all been on the losing end of a game of Monopoly. One person has all the property, all of those hotels and houses, and thus decides how much to charge for them. Avoiding this in real life is key and is done by maintaining a network of thousands upon thousands of small businesses. This kind of network ensures competition in prices and service to best meet the consumer’s needs. Local businesses have to stay competitive—much like you have to hone your competitive streak in online games—and you can support their competitiveness and your community by sticking to local products and services.
10. Product Diversity
In addition to competition is another side of the coin: diversity. With so many local businesses, a variety of products are offered because each business is choosing products that serve their local customers, not a one size fits all kind of product that is based on a national plan.
Money is a hard-earned thing in today’s world. Most people don’t have an excess of it. Sure, some big box stores and chains may seem to offer lower prices, but that’s an easy way out for our wallets and current financial situations. As consumers, we ought to consider the impact of each time we spend our money, and where we spend our money. Supporting local businesses has a positive effect on our national economy, our communities, and the future of our wallets.