Are you fed up with the Washington fiscal chaos yet? Are you concerned about our sluggish economy? Have you noticed the small businesses on Main Street USA are disappearing? Guess what…you have power. Power of individual choice and the power to be part of a movement to save Main Street America. Newsflash- Washington is not going to save our home towns, our local economy, our mom & pops stores and our local heritage. You must be involved in this campaign to #ShopLocal and #ShopSmall. There’s a constructive step you can take right now, think of something you need and go buy it at a local store.
By “local,” I mean any business that you can easily get to by walking, driving or via public transportation; and is independently owned by people from the area. National firms, whether brick-and-mortar or online, don’t qualify.
Probably the biggest advantage in shopping local, is the heartfelt feeling that comes from supporting a truly family-run store. Stop and have a chat and get to know these business owners in your community. This personalized approach to purchasing helps bring us together as a community. No matter how nice the big-box employees may be, it doesn’t beat a business with heart.
It’s time to make buying local a conscious part of our routines, just like physical exercise — something you do because of the many benefits it brings.
Still need convincing? Shopping at small, local stores is a lot smarter than you think…
WHY SHOULD YOU BUY LOCAL? GET THE FACTS…
- For every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $68 stays in the local economy compared to only $43 if spent at a national chain.
Source: Civic Economics study on Grand Rapids, Michigan – Sept. 2008
- Local firms procure local goods and services at more than twice the rate of chains.
Source: Anderson Study of Retail Economics, Chicago, IL – Oct. 2004
- Local merchants keep their modest profits in the local economy.
Source: AIBA Economic Impact case study – Dec. 2002
TOP 10 REASONS TO BUY LOCAL…
1. Protect the Local Character and keep it Unique
Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of our town, and what makes our community…our home. By choosing to support locally owned businesses, you help maintain diversity. Independent shops create distinctive shopping experiences and stock different products.
2. Community Well-Being
Locally owned businesses build strong neighborhoods by sustaining communities, linking neighbors and by contributing more to local causes. Additionally, local businesses are owned by people who live in our community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
3. Local Decision Making
Local ownership means that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
4. Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy
Your dollars spent in locally-owned businesses have three times the impact on your community as dollars spent at national chains. When shopping locally, you simultaneously create jobs, fund more city services through sales tax, invest in neighborhood improvement and promote community development.
5. Job and Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do. Shops in our town create local employment and self-employment. These people in turn spend in the local community. Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally!
Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class. The local Chambers of Commerce is in most communities and has numerous programs to guide business owners.
7. Shopping local saves services
Private and public sector services tend to cluster around shops. As shops disappear so do hairdressers, banks, restaurants, etc. Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.
8. Environmental Sustainability
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, air and water pollution; thus reducing our global footprint.
A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
10. Local shops value you more
Evidence from numerous surveys show people receive better customer care and service locally. These businesses survive by their reputation and repeat business, which means you get a higher standard of service.
Now what? Make a difference by setting a goal. For most of us, buying everything local isn’t practical. Instead, designate a percentage of your spending for this purpose. The 10% Shift movement, suggests households shift 10 percent of their total spending from non-local businesses to local independents. For instance, if you normally spend $300 a week on groceries, set aside $30 of that for shopping at a local bakery, farm stand or family-owned market. If you’re currently ordering 20 hardcopy books a year from Amazon, resolve to buy at least two at an independent bookstore.
The Power of Choice- Every time you make a purchase, you’re exercising power of choice. The choice is yours. You have the power to strengthen & enrich your community.
Please #ShopLocal and #ShopSmall, it truly does matter!
My personal 2014 challenge- 365 days of shopping small businesses!
A blog by Robert Frank Kastelic