When the economy is tough, big chain stores hog headlines with quarterly loss reports. Locally owned stores are hit even harder when the economy slows down. As consumers, we have a choice when it comes to purchases. Are we willing to sacrifice a little convenience and perhaps a few dollars to support our local stores and businesses? There are 10 smart reasons consumers must shop at locally owned stores for greater benefits than prices.
1. Save Main Street from becoming a scene of empty window displays and plywood covered doors
When shoppers abandon the locally owned stores in their community, businesses go under. The blight on the community is terrible for morale and attracting future business to the area.
2. Keep your property values high
If the nearest strip mall lacks meaningful stores and businesses, buyers may think twice before buying a home in your neighborhood.
3. Local stores support schools and sports teams
A slow economy means cutbacks for schools and community sports. Ever notice a Little League sponsored by the local pizzeria? Large chain store managers often can’t endorse a school or local organization, they can only contribute to national programs approved by corporate management. Do you want your dollars supporting causes in other places when your community needs it more?
4. Local stores pay their full share of taxes
A new megastore just open in your area? There was likely a very sweet tax deal made by local officials to attract the chain store. Unfortunately, by getting a break on taxes, the chain store doesn’t contribute a fair share to the infrastructure stresses it brings, such as increased traffic, greater need for police patrol, or storm water fees.
5. Local stores cooperate more with other local businesses
A local business is more likely to feature the products of other local stores and businesses in their retail area. This builds a market for entrepreneurs in your area who can’t get their products in national stores, and increase quality jobs in your hometown economy.
6. A variety of unique local stores draws tourism dollars
Every region has a specialty food or item. To keep the traditions of these local treasures alive, robust independently owned stores are a must. Once specialty items are available in major chain stores around the country, there is less incentive for tourists to visit your area to make their purchase.
7. Local store owners are your friends, neighbors, and acquaintances
If you have to give your money to someone, why give it to a faceless corporation when you can give it to a local business owner? Chances are you have a relationship with this person, or a friend does. The local business owner could go to your church, or have a child in your child’s school. Shopping locally means you support your community members first.
8. Shopping at local stores can be a bargain
While a local store can’t match a megastore’s volume, they could still work with you on the price point of a major item. Many local stores buy directly from the manufacturer, meaning the supply chain is shorter and there are less middle men taking a cut.
9. Local specialty stores offer variety a chain store cannot
A local specialty store can carry multiple choices for items that fit their niche. A megastore can’t afford to stock rare or unique items because they make their profit on volume only.
10. Shop local stores to reduce green house gases
Most small local stores receive goods from the mail or local distributors. Chain stores rely on large supply chain systems with 18-wheeler trucks to haul goods around the country. These large systems are not always energy efficient, they are managed to be cost-effective.
Shopping a local store doesn’t always mean a higher cost. In fact, a local specialty store may be the only place to get what you need. Even in cases where a local store charges a few dollars more than a chain store would for the same item, there are many other benefits for you and the community by shopping locally. It’s your money, make the most out of it.