You may be surprised at how big of an impact spending your money locally has.
Whether buying groceries or gifts, heading to a local store benefits everyone, no matter the time of the year.
The Local Community and Economy Benefit
Let’s look at the numbers. According to the American Independent Business Alliance, local businesses recirculate 48% of their profits into the local community. Big box stores only recirculate 14% into their community.
Recirculation is a continuous cycle of money staying within a local economy.
Why? Because local businesses rely on other local businesses and residents.
By shopping locally, you’re helping every surrounding store. Businesses can take higher revenues and invest in their employees, who are your neighbors and friends.
Tax money is also more likely to stay within your city or town, and this revenue helps fund schools, provide money to police and fire departments, repair roads, and more.
You Can Shape Your Community
Chain stores can sometimes have their virtues, but when was the last time you walked into a big-box retailer with a different layout or architectural design? The reality is most chain stores are the same across the nation. You know what to expect when you walk these stores.
Communities need their own identities to thrive, and independent stores help achieve that. By shopping locally, you’re helping your town develop and maintain a unique feel not found anywhere else. That unique identity helps draw in outsiders who spend their money in your community.
A Better Shopping Experience
You’re likely to see more familiar faces when you visit local establishments. Over time, you may even get to know a business owner and form a friendship. You’re meeting the people behind a store, learning about their passions and why they operate their businesses. Some small-business owners genuinely want to help their communities and provide meaningful services.
Independently-owned stores are also more likely to have better customer service. Every interaction is with a store employee, and you’re more likely to work with managers and owners to sort out serious issues. You can spend painstaking hours on the phone with a representative on the other side of the world.
Adding better customer service with personal connections, you have a more personalized shopping experience. Owners may stock up on items they know their customers will buy and can even help you discover new products.
Local stores may not have the flashy advertising campaigns of chain retailers, but they offer more personalized and pleasant shopping experiences. Most importantly, though, is that your money stays within the community.
Try shopping local this holiday season and in the future instead of relying on chain stores and online shopping. You sustain your community by shopping locally.
Updated post. Originally published November 2016.
Want to learn more about the benefits of shopping locally? Listen to local shop owner, Marsha Lechefske, of Booj Boutique in an episode of Dream, Plan, Live.