There are many well-documented benefits of shopping locally out there. While the buy-local movement has been gaining momentum steadily over the last decade and is most likely already on your radar, we think it is essential enough to go over here!
This post will take a look at 5 of the most compelling reasons to shop locally, and why you ought to consider a walk to your downtown business district over a drive to the nearest big-box style store!
What are the Top 5 Benefits of Shopping Locally?
- It Bolsters Your Local Economy Significantly! According to The New Economics Foundation researcher David Boyle." Money is like blood. It needs to keep moving around to keep the economy going," he says in a Time Magazine article, noting that when money is spent elsewhere—at big supermarkets, non-locally owned utilities and other services such as on-line retailers—"it flows out, like a wound." By shopping at the corner store instead of the big box, consumers keep their communities from becoming what the he calls "ghost towns" (areas devoid of neighborhood shops and services).
Furthermore, The Institute for Local Self-Reliance conducted a study of the local multiplier effect in several small Maine communities in 2003. The study found each $100 spent at local independent stores generated $45 of secondary local spending, compared to $14 for a big-box chain! Many studies have found the same results. The big takeaway: shopping at local-owned businesses greatly benefits the local economy!
- It’s More Environmentally Sustainable. First of all, local stores help to sustain walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution. It’s easy to picture why this is; we’ve all been to a big-box style store. They require a LOT of space, and are typically built on previously un-developed land outside the town center.
Locally owned businesses also support each other and make more local purchases requiring less transportation. This is especially true in the case of locally-grown food.
Follow this link to read about the commitment that Big Bowl Chinese and Thai, one of our favorite customers, has made to locally grown foods and farms.
- It Creates Better Jobs and Wages, Locally. Studies have found that big-box retailers are depressing wages and benefits for retail employees, and that median incomes have risen faster in places with more small businesses compared to those dominated by big businesses.
For example, The San Francisco Retail Diversity Study by Civic Economics in 2007 found that every $1 million spent at a local bookshop, creates $321,000 in additional economic activity in the city, including $119,000 in wages paid to local workers. A chain bookstore, on the other hand, generates only $188,000 in economic activity and $71,000 in local wages.
- It Encourages Diversity and Competition. Having an assortment of small businesses, each selecting products based on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, generates a much wider variety of product choices. Having this diverse array of local businesses also leads to competition and innovation (to keep you, the consumer interested), which also works to drive down prices in the long run.
- It’s More Interesting! One of the benefits of shopping locally is that you’re more likely to encounter the unique local character that makes your community special, and interact with engaging business owners who are truly experts at their craft. As writer Robin Shreeves notes, “If you want to get to know your neighbors and others in your community, supporting the local businesses is a great way to do that. Going into my local coffee house is like walking into Cheers. I know the baristas and they know my name; there's one guy who is there every morning who always knows more about what I'm talking about than I do (or so he thinks).”
While it’s certainly true that not every local business is worth supporting, and not every large national chain business is detrimental to your community, we hope the benefits of shopping locally are compelling enough for you to consider!
Looking to Attract Local Shoppers? Howard Packaging Can Help!
As a business that meets the packaging needs for a diverse variety of businesses, we’re aware of the challenges local businesses face on a daily basis. If you’re an entrepreneur or a local business owner looking for ways to make your business stand out, we can help!
Contact us today for a Free Sample Kit and Catalog and let us help your local business succeed!