We hear the call all the time: shop small, shop local. But most of us choose to skip that call in order to save an extra 5% by hitting up the big box stores and other national companies. Let’s put aside our desire for savings for just one day, and when you are out doing your Christmas shopping this year, make the commitment to buy at least 75% of your presents from locally owned store. Even better, let’s buy locally made goods. There are actually a lot of great reasons to shop local, and it goes even further beyond supporting your neighbors.
Shop Local to Invest in Yourself
The inner workings of local economics are a mystery to most people. I’m by no means an expert either. So when I say that spending more is an investment in yourself, it may seem a little counterintuitive. How can spending more money be an investment in yourself? There are two means of investment, saving money is a direct investment: you save $5 you have 5 extra dollars. However, if you spend $5 more on something because it was made and sold locally, you are creating an indirect investment. The local business will now pay local taxes, spend their money locally and most likely increase your business. Your $5 can turn into $500 with increased wages and more people making the choice to shop local.
Shop Local to Create Jobs
If a locally owned store gets more business, they will need more help. It’s very simple. Creating jobs is another way to increase tax revenue to localities, as well as promote more economic movement. More people earning money means more people spending money.
Shop Local to Invest in the Community
Your money staying in the community will help create more prosperity for those in the community. Local taxes go to fund parks and events and local businesses choose to spend their money on things that help the community. But this goes far beyond economics. Local business owners are our friends and neighbors. Utilizing their stores helps to strengthen the bond between friends and neighbors. Besides, who would you rather help out, Jeff Bezos (CEO of Amazon) who is already worth around $30 billion, or the guy who lives down the street who pulls in $75,000 on a good year?
Shop Local to Invest in the Environment
With the big national stores there is a lot of environmental waste. From the building of the store that requires contractors from out-of-state, to the shipment of merchandise, to the production of the merchandise that is most likely overseas. National corporations are all about the bottom line, and that means getting the most for their money even if it means destroying the environment in the process.
Instead, let’s finally start putting a value on nature. If you choose to shop local you can do good without becoming a tree hugger. Shop a local store that sources their materials right here, and you will do even more good for the environment.
Shop Local to Promote Creativity
A local store owner has a lot to deal with. The biggest issue on his or her mind is making enough money to keep their store open for business. This stifles everything down the line. If they are worried about making enough money, then they have no time to look into expanding, creating new products, or starting new business ventures.
Take the time to shop local to see how much more these owners can do. They are already entrepreneurs; they have insights, visions, and understand concepts that most people don’t. Let’s see how deep that creativity runs.
Shop Local to Avoid Marketing Gimmicks
Big national stores use statistics, your emotions, and sophisticated research to tell you what you should buy. They don’t care about you or your wants; they care about selling you the product that will make them the most money. Skip those marketing gimmicks and shop local where the store owner will sell you what you want and need. Besides, you will likely get a better product.
Shop Local: You Will Reap More Rewards
Shopping locally is not a difficult thing to do. In fact, most of us shop at local stores already without paying attention to it. But if we really want to make a difference in the economy, the environment, and the community, then let’s make a conscious decision to spend our money on our friends, family, and community members.
Besides, it really won’t cost much more. You could get all your presents on Amazon or at a big box store and spend $1,000. Or get the exact same thing at locally owned stores and spend $1,050 to $1,100. That extra $100 will promote far more than $100 of growth.
As a writer in Billings, Montana, I love our community. I try to shop local as much as I can.