When most people think of shopping local, they think in terms of supporting the profitability of a local business; but there are so many more ways that it benefits both the buyer and the community as a whole. Here at the Chamber, we have always had our top 10 list of the fringe benefits of shopping local; but this year, I would like to add a brand new one at the very top of the list.
The new number one reason to shop local that nearly everyone has discovered in the past year is that once you pay for your item, your friendly neighborhood small business owner will place your purchase in a bag and then hand it to you. They may even gift wrap it and help you put it in your car.
This seems pretty straight forward, but consider this. What if after handing you your receipt, the local merchant said, “Thank you for your business, Miss Smith. I will make sure that this gets put on a container ship that is killing time off the coast of Los Angeles right away.” You may receive it in a few months. I am sure it will show up at your house no later than Memorial Day.”
Or maybe, “Mr. Jones, I hope you didn’t actually need this item; because I am going to send this right away to a big black-hole of a parcel sorting facility in Georgia from whence no package has ever emerged. Maybe you should go ahead and buy two more of the same thing with the hopes that one out of the three will eventually reach you. Have a great day!”
I think you can see where I’m going with this. To very loosely paraphrase Mick Jagger, “You can’t always get what you purchased unless you decide to buy local.” And yes, the other 10 awesome reasons to spend your money in your own community still apply; and they are:
2. Sales tax revenue will be increased which means more money is available for schools, public safety, recreational facilities, roadway maintenance, and programs that support the most vulnerable segments of our population such as children, the elderly, and those with disabilities.
3. Property values will go up where small businesses are flourishing because the community will be perceived as an exciting place to live, work, and play.
4. More local jobs will be available, so our residents can cut down on those long commutes.
5. Non-profits will receive additional support when small business owners can afford to sponsor events and participate in fundraisers.
6. The community develops its unique personality when it is filled with one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants.
7. People are encouraged to start new businesses when they can count on the support of local residents.
8. You can make use of local expertise and have access to merchandise that was custom curated for your community’s needs and preferences.
9. You will have a more diverse product selection available to you because small businesses each have different suppliers.
10. You help to protect the environment by reducing transportation costs when you buy locally-made items.
11. Your money gets recycled locally as small business owners re-spend your money on payroll and other expenses.
As journalist, Ben Speggen, once pointed out, “Money spent elsewhere fuels someone else’s fire. And we can’t warm our hands next to that fire.” Remember to give yourself and your community a gift every time you make a purchase by shopping local.