There are 10,001 excellent reasons to buy local. Today, however, let’s focus on the ever important benefit of shopping small to revive your local community.
Shopping small can make a real difference in the lives of your neighbors, community organizations and local businesses. Whether you enjoy a local festival, cook with veggies from a local farmer, or simply buy goodies from a community bake sale, your efforts to keep it close to home will count for a lot.
We’re all familiar with the most common reasons to buy local, right? Some of the more self-serving benefits include:
- Getting better service from people you know
- Buying local so community dollars will come back around
- Being first in line for sales, promotions and giveaways
- Networking with locals for business contacts
- Looking good to your neighbors
- Feeling good about helping the community and environment
- And getting a product with quality that you can trust
Regardless of the reasons you like to buy local, however, every little step that’s made to support your neighborhood businesses will help breathe life into your community.
Independentwestand.org, an organization that tracks the importance of independent local businesses, reports that we would create more than $42.6 billion in domestic revenue if half of the employed population in the United States spent only $50 a month through locally owned businesses. Since their study only focused on the employed segments of our country, imagine what good we could do if we taught our youth and encouraged our retirees to try local first! At a minimum, we’d be reviving our local communities. On a larger scale, we could avoid future economic slowdowns, like the one we just came out of. If more of our population would step away from internet or big box spending and buy from their neighbor, we’d see our local communities prosper and come alive.
The SBA (small business advocacy) keeps close tabs on small businesses, tracking how they affect their local community and the national economy. Though a healthy local business has great impact on its community, more small business are closing that being started each year. The competition from larger corporations is suffocating local shops, as they are unable to match the big box prices of imported goods. In 2009, one of the hardest years for the recent US economy, an estimated 552,600 new employer firms opened… but 660,900 more closed. That equates to a 10% annual turnover. If those hard times had been met with a fierce local loyalty, we could have squashed the slowdown in its tracks.
Here are more than a dozen easy ways to buy local and revive your neighborhood!
- For holidays and birthdays, gift local services like art classes, spa treatments, horse riding lessons, or even a few hours of house cleaning!
- Pass the chain restaurants up for local eateries, festival tents, or food trucks!
- Buy local books, by local authors, at a local bookstore, instead of on Amazon or a corporate store.
- Chase him down – the ice cream man is a local vendor!
- Dine at restaurants that source locally.
- Consider a regular, scheduled delivery of locally grown produce.
- Frequent local coffee shops, which are usually much less expensive (and tastier) than chains.
- Look for ‘locally grown’ labels at your grocer, even chain stores have them now!
- Plant a garden with locally bought seeds – this will ensure crops that grow well in your region, too!
- Take an outdoors class to support local teachers and get to know your environment.
- Buy your kids hobby gear from a local shop, instead of an online dealer.
- Throw your kids birthday party at a local activity center instead of a well-known corporate center.
- Visit a local water store for a filter to put on your tap – fresh local water rocks and doesn’t cost as much as the imports!
- Find good resell shops to freshen your wardrobe, replace home décor, or buy a bike at!
So take a few moments out of your busy schedule to locate good ma and pop businesses in your area, figure out the community calendar for farmer’s markets, and shop community sales… your neighborhood will thrive because of it! If you don’t have the extra time to spend, driving around finding these places, simply search for a local delivery service. Some local delivery companies provide have lists of local vendors, which makes it easy to browse their vendor list for your favorite products (or something new) Having a local delivery service deliver a local product does double the good… and it’s convenient – they’ll deliver straight to your door!
It only takes a moment to plan out local shopping ideas, and a few attempts at them to start a habit. The rewards are great, however. You’ll be breathing life into your community and will find the best quality, most delightful surprises at your local stores!
Do you like to buy local? We’d love to hear how you go about it, in the comments below!