As the technological age continues to move forward, the shopping experience is gradually becoming predominantly web-based. It’s not a surprise considering every item you desire is available at the click of a button. Of course, then you also have to deal with additional shipment fees and wait a whole week or more just for your item to arrive. The decision to shop local is entirely a personal choice, but there are a lot of long-term benefits from doing so:
The community benefits. A large majority of local business owners contribute to their local communities, including schools, non profits, community groups, and other local organizations through volunteering and making donations. Not to mention city services receive more funding through the sales tax and more is invested into neighborhood improvement, ultimately furthering community development.
More jobs are created. Small local businesses account for a large number of jobs that are created each year. Most of the time, these jobs provide much more stable employment opportunities in communities. Many local businesses are passed down from generation to generation, which preserves local culture. Purchasing outside of your local community drives down the sales of local businesses, often forcing them to close. And once one store closes, people generally search for alternative shops in other areas. This then affects the sales of other local businesses—a domino effect. When one suffers, they all suffer.
You support your neighbors! By supporting your local businesses, you’re often helping out your neighbors. A large portion of local businesses are typically owned and operated by people who live locally. So by buying local, you’re not helping a millionaire CEO buy another vacation home—you’re helping your neighbor’s daughter afford dance lessons and your son’s best friend afford his football equipment. Shopping local helps locals.
More unique and one-of-a-kind choices! Whether its locally grown fruit or a hand crafted chair, most local businesses sell products that are locally crafted. This not only instills sentimental value for the buyer, but makes the product unique and one of a kind. Most of these local business owners make their products out of love and passion—unlike large corporations where everything is seen in dollar signs. The Holiday Season is a perfect time to shop local for personal gifts that tell a story. Anyone could jump on the bandwagon, head out to a big-name chain retailer and find a manufactured gift that probably 50,000 other buyers already have. But when you shop local you have the option to buy a one-of-a-kind gift that only you have. That’s surely one way to make someone feel special this holiday season!
Personalized shopping experiences. If you grew up a small town, then you most likely know what it’s like going out in public and inevitably seeing someone you know. Viewing this as a good or bad thing probably depends on how you look that day, but when it comes to shopping it’s almost always beneficial. If you’re a local “regular,” then the shop owners most likely know you by name, preference, budget, and so on. This personalizes your shopping experience with extra attention and quality service you receive, and it could even score you some awesome discounts!
A penny saved, is a penny richer. Shopping local saves you money in more ways than one. Apart from locally grown and manufactured products typically being priced cheaper than the name brands out there, shopping local will save you time and gas money that you otherwise would have spent travelling. For those who are environmentally conscious, this also cuts back on the emissions and pollutants produced in travel! So really, shopping local is a win-win for everyone.
Of course, not everything can be bought local—it’s inevitable. But shopping local should always be your first thought before searching for alternatives. Give back in more ways than one this year and decide to shop local.