5 Reasons Why Shopping Locally Is a Win for Everyone
Many consumers balk at the idea of shopping locally, figuring that it’ll cost more than it does when hitting the warehouse retailer or Internet purveyor. After all, for many, the lowest cost provider wins. That’s not to say that mom and pops aren’t competitive, but some consumers equate shopping locally with spending more money.
That mindset is starting to erode, thanks to a movement afoot among some consumers who are fed up with large retailers, experienced as impersonal and often crowded shopping experiences. That, in turn, has ushered in more demand for small stores that sell unique items and are focused on customer service.
But experience isn’t the only benefit of shopping locally. There is a host of others reasons why more and more people are choosing to skip the big box retailers and hit stores in town.
1. You’ll Have Better Health
Some of the more popular things for consumers to purchase locally are fruits and vegetables as well as other fresh food items. In the fall, spring, and summer months, communities around the country host farmers’ markets, where residents can purchase fresh fruits and vegetables grown locally.
Farmer’s markets are not the only way to support local businesses: Some grocery stores will stock their organic sections with locally-grown goods. Buying locally-grown ingredients will not only taste better but can also boost your health more than a lot of supermarket produce. You’ll know you’re purchasing fruits. vegetables, fresh eggs, and grass-fed meats that are free of chemicals. You’ll also have options beyond processed food, often linked to diseases; purchasing local honey can even keep allergies at bay. Local organic food might sometimes set you back more than supermarket fare but the payback in health is worth it.
2. Your Dollars Support the Community
When you shop locally, you not only support the retailer but also the community it is located in. A large portion of the money spent stays local in this way, as well as the lion’s share of the tax revenue. As a result, dollars spent at a small business may help fund local schools, pave the roads, and protect the community. According to Civic Economics, $68 of every $100 spent stays within the community with local businesses. Meanwhile, a chain store contributes $43 of that $100 to the community and that number goes down to zero when making online purchases.
It doesn’t stop there: The more local businesses there are, the more jobs a town will have. Not to mention that they often pay better salaries than chain stores. Local business owners are also more apt to shop locally and support their peers, network, and build relationships. Big national retailers don’t care if they have a deep relationship with the local office supplies company and will get its business supplies and support outside of the local economy. That means less tax revenue for the schools, fire departments, and public library. Additionally, national chains tend to hire people from all over the country, which means that there’s a greater chance they won’t shop local, thus hurting the town’s revenue further.
3. It Can Boost Property Values
One of the in-demand amenities for new home buyers these days is a community that has everything within walking distance. That means residents can easily get to coffee shops, restaurants, shops, schools, and parks via a quick stroll through town. That has been made possible in large part by local businesses providing the products and services the community needs.
A vibrant and busy shopping and entertainment area in a town can drive demand to live there, boosting the value of the homes in the neighborhoods. But it requires the local residents’ commitment to shop locally. Without the revenue coming in and the local taxes, the town can’t support its downturn, ultimately resulting in a rundown and desolate shopping district.
4. There Are One-of-a-Kind Finds to Be Had
Retail chains are popular with the masses, which means that everyone has the same things. From digital devices to apparel, millions of people are consuming the same products simultaneously. That may be fine for most, but if you’re looking to stand out from the pack or want something unique, shopping locally can be a good answer. Often, these small businesses specialize in niches, catering to a small segment of the market. That, in turn, means that they’re selling one-of-a-kind and unique items that you won’t see at your chain department store.
Customer service tends to be better, too. Consumers know the person behind the product when they’re shopping locally. If you have a problem, it’s a quick stop at the store instead of dealing with the policies of a larger retailer. Customer service representatives at a national chain have no skin in the game, while small business owners will go to great lengths to keep you as a loyal customer. The experience will thus tend to be more personalized. Local businesses know their customers, which means that they have the ability to personalize their products or services for the client. A small retailer, for example, can order a hard-to-find product for a specific customer where many large retailers won’t go to such lengths.
5. It Creates More Choice
The more local businesses competing for consumers’ dollars there are, the more choices consumers will ultimately have. A single small store can’t sell as many items as an online retailer or a big retailer, but multiple independent stores in a community can offer a wide range of products reflecting the owners’ unique tastes. That, in turn, provides residents with access to unique and personalized products not found at larger stores. If only a handful of large companies control production, distribution, and sales, it means less choice for customers.
In this always Internet-connected society, it’s easy to jump on the mobile phone and order whatever is needed, but that convenience comes at a cost to the community you reside in. If you don’t shop locally, towns don’t get the much-needed tax revenue that supports the fire department, police, sanitation department, and other local services. The shopping area suffers when ignored by its citizens, often becoming a forgotten and abandoned part of a neighborhood.
Keeping a town vital isn’t the only benefit of supporting small business owners; shopping locally can also help your bottom line. You’ll be healthier for eating fresh produce and foods while possibly seeing your property value jump if your neighborhood’s downtown district is thriving.