When you need to go shopping, you probably head to the mall or to one of the big-box chain stores like Fred Meyers or Hobby Lobby. Next time you go on a shopping spree, you might consider shopping at the local businesses in your own backyard.
The big-box chain stores have some advantages – lower prices and larger quantities, but shopping at local, independent businesses offers some distinct advantages over the national chain stores.
The next time you have the urge to shop, consider these top five reasons to shop locally and head to a local online store instead:
Stimulate the Local Economy
Shopping locally keeps the money recirculating within your community, bolstering the local economy. Locally owned merchants are more likely to use neighboring businesses such as banks, service providers and farms.
Purchasing locally helps businesses in the community grow and generates more tax revenue. The greater the percentage of local businesses in your community, the lower your taxes. As the local tax base expands, more money is invested in the community including schools, infrastructure, roads, bridges, recreation facilities, and police and fire departments.
Local businesses in town centers require much less infrastructure investment than nationally-owned stores and make more efficient use of public services.
Increase Job Creation
Small, local businesses employ the majority of workers in the U.S. and provide the highest number of new jobs, Local businesses hire their employees from the community. The more successful the businesses, the more people they will need to hire. Locally owned businesses are less likely to move jobs to another city, state or country, which would put your neighbors out of work. Often, when national chains move into a community, job loss comes with them.
I’m not saying that big box stores don’t come with advantages. They often offer a large number of jobs to the community which is why politicians usually invite them. However, these jobs are usually low pay, low benefit and can be taken away at any time as we’ve seen recently.
When we surveyed Oregon City Chit Chat this week, the vast majority of people chose Food On Demand, a local business, as their preferred delivery method because it paid their workers right and kept things local.
Protect the Environment
Buying local is also an essential component of green living. From gas consumption to emission fumes, buying local reduces the carbon footprint of products and services. Having shops nearby means you can leave your car at home and walk or ride your bicycle to run errands. With fewer cars on the road, there is less traffic, less noise, and less pollution.
Make Larger Investments in the Community
Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community and are not likely to leave. Because the merchants are part of the community, they are more invested in seeing the area grow and thrive. Local businesses are more likely to give more of their dollars to local nonprofits because they know the people they are helping.
The top contributors to the Oregon City Chamber of Commerce are all locally owned businesses like Ravensview, Parkin Electric, and Hilltop Mall.
Encourage Out-of-Town Visitors
Local businesses offer one-of-a-kind products you can’t find at big-box stores and give your community a distinct personality. The uniqueness encourages more people to visit and put money into the local economy.
This is especially true for products linked to Oregon City in some way, like Modified’s Oregon City tote bags for sale here.
This is the perfect time to buy local
With the CoronaVirus devastating the economy there has never been a more important time to support local business. Small businesses in Oregon City are switching to online methods to sell and offering great deals to get people going. Geeks and Games are offering a whopping 20% off board games and many local restaurants are looking to better food delivery options.
As well as this, Amazon has recently delayed all non-essential purchases. So there’s a good chance your order form a local store will arrive much faster. Imagine that!
Other reasons to shop local
- Customer service is usually better
- More competition = more choices
- You matter more. When you use local businesses you “vote with your wallet” which leads to more purchasing power.
If you want to strengthen your community’s economy, the best thing you can do is to shop and buy locally rather than frequenting the big-box chain stores. A greater portion of the money you spend at local stores will be used for purchase at other local businesses. The bottom line is buying local keeps the money in your community.