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inspiration: shop local

inspiration: shop local

Merri and I wanted an article about shopping local. We did not, however, want an article filled with whining about people who don’t shop local. Instead, we wanted to give you solid reasons for why shopping at small businesses is good for YOU and your community! This article not only gives solid reasons for shopping local but also gives you something you can do that will make a real difference!

What does one mean by shopping local? Aren’t the big box stores local? They are right down the road, right? But this is not quite what we mean. So what is local? Local is shopping at small businesses that give back to the surrounding community on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean that some big box stores don’t give back in some areas and it doesn’t mean stop shopping there all together. This isn’t about telling anyone where they should or shouldn’t shop; it is about giving alternatives to create balance. One way some small businesses give back is by being there for you. There are several shop owners on St. Germain that would go out of their way to help people, and I don’t just mean finding what you are shopping for. I mean actually listen to YOU! They actually go that extra mile to make your day a little brighter and a little less of a load. Another reason to shop at a small business is that they are just plain better for your health, your very well-being, and most of us really care about you, not just your dollar. When was the last time a big box store employee (and I am not picking on them) took the time to inquire how you were feeling? How your day was going? And they really wanted to know? It isn’t only smiles you get from the small businesses. You get loyalty. And all the shop owners ask for in return… is the same.

How does buying local help you and your community? Here’s the short list:
  1. Helps maintain diversity in your town because different shop owners create an array of choices, rather than a chain that has the same thing in every town.
  2. Dollars spent locally have more than three times the impact in your hometown as those spent at chains.
  3. Local businesses tend to hire local.
  4. Local businesses contribute to local charities and causes that get to your friends and neighbors.
  5. Small businesses cause less damage to the environment by not needing their own roads, lighting, parking, etc.
  6. Small businesses ensure lower prices for the long haul, not the short term, because it creates more competition.
  7. Entrepreneurship helped to build America. It was the key to a successful economy as everyone had a chance to be their own boss and become successful.
  8. Lastly, small businesses help build communities of people willing to help one another and support one another on this journey we call life.
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO: A woman by the name of Cinda Baxter came up with a plan. A simple thing could save your local economy. It called the 3/50 Project. Here’s how it works: Pick three locally owned businesses you’d hate to see disappear and patronize them each month. Spend $50.00 per month in locally owned businesses. If half of the employed U.S. population did so, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue annually. For every $100.00 spent in locally owned businesses, $68.00 returns to the local community. When spent in a big box chain or franchise, only $43.00 remains within the community. Purchases made online from distant businesses represent NO benefit to the local community. No benefit means no income tax, etc which means that your taxes go up. When your taxes go up then you likely spend less which creates a vicious cycle, a cycle we have the power to stop.

I recently read an article that said that today most consumers are starting to “blend” their online and off-line shopping practices; some prefer to try on clothes or shop for gifts in stores and then purchase them online. Anyone else see the problem with this? Where are they going to seek out their online purchases when the small business is gone? I don’t know about you but shopping online with friends never seems as much fun to me.

Here’s the thing; we all want to get a good deal once in a while. The problem with always going for the good deal is the loss on the other end. It’s kind of like when we lose an endangered species; no one ever really notices until they are all gone. Many of you (and you know who you are), support the small businesses as much as you can. Others…just forget sometimes. Even I do. Let’s all work this next year at being more aware of doing our part to create balance in our economy. There are a lot of small business owners waiting at their doors. They are waiting for YOU. See you there!



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