With the holidays quickly approaching, the shopping season has kicked into high gear. Most of us will cram malls and megastores to purchase gifts for our loved ones. However, instead of buying all your gifts at a big chain store, why not try a local business?
Shopping locally keeps more money in your community. In fact, A Healthier Michigan notes if each family in Michigan spent only $10 a week on locally made goods, more than $37 million dollars would go back into Michigan’s economy each week. Almost all of our communities could use a boost like that.
Not only do locally owned shops help your economy, they offer several other non-monetary benefits, too.
A stronger sense of community
If the community supports local businesses, owners are more likely to reciprocate and donate back to the city. Many local shop owners support community events or sports teams. A connection is created between the owners and the neighborhood, so community members shop at the local store because it supports the community, and the cycle continues.
Also, there’s something special about going into a small shop and knowing the owner. It feels good walking into a store, being greeted personally by the proprietor and having them ask how your family is doing. I love going to local shops, talking with the owners, and getting to know them. And, on almost every occasion, it’s gotten me a discount on my purchase or a free knick-knack. I can’t say that about any large megastore I’ve visited lately.
Most people don’t start a business from the ground up just for kicks; they start it because they want to share their passion with others. I know that when I visit a local shop, they’re probably going to share with me the best quality products they can get their hands on. If they love what they sell, they certainly won’t sell you junk. By selling junky goods and creating a poor reputation, they’d kill their own business.
Additionally, if the owner is really passionate about what they sell, they’ll generally have the best variety of unique products. I’ve found some of the best holiday gifts at local shops, and they’re always things that I can never find anywhere else.
Local artists or vendors
Some local vendors can’t afford shop space, so they’ll team up with local business owners to sell their products. From a local storefront, they’ll sell more and get more exposure – helping their business grow. Locally owned shops allow us to see items made by craftspeople, and help them jumpstart their own businesses.
If a local business opens up and thrives in a community, more businesses move into the area. As a result, you get small blocks of walkable communities with shops, cafés and restaurants for people to visit in a close proximity. If people can walk around and window shop, they’ll spend more time in the community – thus creating more opportunities to bring in revenue.
The more money a local business makes, the more it expands. As it grows, they’ll need to hire more people, so they’ll hire friends, family and more. Additional people working in the community and decreasing unemployment means a healthier economy and future growth opportunities, which benefit everyone.
The more money we infuse into our local businesses, the easier it is for those dollars to make a difference in our community. The success of one local business can have a huge impact on your neighborhood, helping it prosper. Local shops also infuse our communities with unique goods that we might not find anywhere else. With so many great benefits of supporting local businesses, why not buy a few gifts from them this year?
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