6 Reasons to Shop Local in 2020
“Shop local. Support locally sourced products and services. Support small businesses.”
These are a few mantras you’ve no doubt heard many times over the last few years, as a push to move away from the sterile and impersonal environments of big-box chains and department stores has swept through North America. But, while there is an increased willingness on the part of consumers to throw some extra coin at small businesses, others may see this push as nothing but a fad or trend. After all, are the benefits of shopping local that well known? As we enter this new decade, we at Flagstaff Crafted wanted to share a few reasons why supporting local is beneficial for everyone and how small businesses change the community for the better. It is, after all, what we do.
1. A Majority of New Jobs Come From Local Businesses
Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally. According to the Government of Canada, small businesses represent 48% of the total labour force in the private sector and about 30% of Canada’s GDP. In addition, local shops provide jobs to people of various backgrounds, from students to residents who may be ready for a career change. And in our province’s current economic climate, it never hurts to support these local business leaders in ensuring a more diversified job pool. Besides, who wouldn’t want to walk to work and beat the commute?
2. It Makes a Community Unique
Want a recipe for a thriving community? The ingredients are many, but some of the most important are local businesses, entrepreneurs and makers. Every city or town has the same mix of chain restaurants, grocery, and department stores, but it’s the character beyond this that will make the community a destination. Those one-of-a-kind products and experiences shared by local makers and businesses are what sets your community apart from every other town worldwide. By supporting those businesses, you ensure that the character of your community is preserved, and its uniqueness may draw others to it — either to give over valuable tourist dollars or to maybe even become part of a community that they’ve seen shares their values.
Every city or town has the same mix of chain restaurants, grocery, and department stores, but it’s the character beyond this that will make the community a destination.
3. Your Local Economy Benefits
When you purchase at locally owned businesses — rather than nationally owned — more money is kept in the community. By virtue of being ingrained locally, small business owners generally support other local businesses — often patronizing nearby establishments for both business and personal purchases. This is in stark contrast to a large corporation that tends to get its supplies from its national distributors. Locally owned businesses that often purchase from other local businesses and service providers help to grow other businesses as well as the local tax base.
4. Customer Service Is Better
Any business that cares about its customer base is going to respond to its customers’ concerns, but none more so than a local maker or owner of a community business. A small business owner is connected to every employee in-store, but also to its customers. They value a personal approach and ensure that any and all issues are taken seriously. After all, a local business owner will see you in-person far more often and will be much more aware of how consumers feel since they “vote with their wallet.” On top of the personal touch, local businesses tend to hire people with more specific product expertise. This expertise is shared with you as a consumer in a customer relationship that is mutually fostered over time by an employee that will remember your values and meet your needs.
A small business owner is connected to every employee in-store, but also to its customers.
5. You’ll Find Unique Offerings
Unlike big-box chains, the mix of products you can acquire from local businesses is often unique to your community, like a chair crafted from a locally grown type of wood or preserves made with ingredients that are native to your area. Perhaps the product you’re looking for is one-of-a-kind and only produced by an artisan in your neighbourhood. It’s these unique offerings that are usually created and crafted with care and so made to last. Often the freedom of a local maker will lead to unique twists on familiar products or entirely new ideas that you may not have seen elsewhere. One sure-fire thing you must know about local artisans is that they are truly committed to their craft, bringing creativity and care to their products.
6. It Shows You Care About Your Community
When you stop to think about it, supporting local comes down to caring about your community. Not only do you reap the rewards listed above, but you ensure that all your neighbours do as well. Your buying habits can support your local economy, your neighbourhood entrepreneurs, crafters, and the community as a whole. Supporting small business makes you a part of something special, unique and thriving. Doesn’t that sound good? We thought so.