With the holiday season quickly approaching, shoppers are bombarded with thousands of shopping options. From online shopping to big box stores to local goods, the possibilities are nearly limitless. Online shopping, of course, is often the most convenient and big box stores generally offer the biggest discounts. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t just as many reasons to shop locally. Here are 5 great reasons to shop local this holiday season.
When you shop locally, approximately 67 cents out of every dollar ends up staying right in your community. Small business owners generally live in the same community their business is located in, as do all of the employees. This means that they are also spending their dollars in the community as well.
This generally translates out to an additional 50 cents out of every dollar getting reinvested in local business activity. This is due to employee spending in the community and the purchasing of local goods and services in the community by the small business itself. When you shop at local businesses, you help to create a cash flow cycle that stays in the community rather than flowing right out of it.
When giant corporations come in and open offices in your community, they aren’t necessarily invested in your community. They can just as easily move somewhere else a few years down the road or force employees to move away to keep their jobs. Even when large chain stores open a store in your community, they still aren’t invested in your community.
Local businesses, however, don’t just create more jobs, they create better jobs because the owners themselves live in, and therefore are invested in your community. Local businesses often provide jobs to friends, neighbors, and relatives and in some cases even provide employment for those that might otherwise have difficulty finding employment. People with good jobs are often better, more solid members of the community on the whole. Small businesses are a legitimate part of the fabric of the community and rather than just being located there.
Most people dream of being able to open their own business, but the only way for that dream to continue is if they actually have customers to bring in income and keep them afloat. When you shop at local businesses, you are supporting the entrepreneurial spirit in your own community.
When one business thrives, it also gives hope to others that if they open a business, maybe it will thrive as well. In addition, most people want to build their business beyond just a small business. Your patronage can help give them the leg up they need to expand and grow their small business into a big one. Technology is the other key that is helping small businesses become more competitive and really have an edge over larger businesses and companies.
While you can find thousands of items on the internet and in larger chain stores, you will have a hard time finding truly unique gifts that are often hiding right under your nose – in many local shops. Many small business owners actually make their own goods or contract other local artisans or craftspeople to create them for them. In many cases, small business owners support an entire host of other small business owners, who in turn support them as well.
In fact, the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB) exists to help small businesses create and maintain this supportive network. This means that when you buy something from one small business, you are most likely supporting any number of other small businesses and even individuals as well. If you want to give a special, personal and unique gift this holiday season, you are most likely to find it in a local shop.
Online shopping may be one way to beat the crowd, but you also miss out on personal service as well. In a large chain store, employees are often so overwhelmed that it can be difficult to get any service or assistance, not to mention often having to wait in long lines to check out.
Shopping in local stores may be the best way to have the best of both worlds – and more. Local stores are often not as busy as big chain stores, which means you are far more likely to still get personal service. In a small business, you are more likely to get great advice or have someone help you find just the right gift or product for your needs.
Shopping in a local business can also be a far more personal experience on the whole. Small businesses are often family-owned, so enjoying a cozy atmosphere while the owner gives you their full attention and attempts to get to know you better is quite common. If you return to their business, they are also more likely to remember you and even ask about your family or various life events.
Shopping locally is not only one of the best things you can do for your community, but it’s also one of the best things you can do for yourself as well. In a world full of busy, hurried, overworked employees and angry customers, you can find unique and unusual gifts in a friendlier, comfortable environment.
Joe Peters is a Baltimore-based freelance writer and an ultimate tech enthusiast. When he is not working his magic as a marketing consultant, this incurable tech junkie enjoys spending time with his family, reading about the latest tech gadgets and binge-watching his favorite TV shows. You can reach him @bmorepeters