There is hardly a community left in America that has not been touched by big box stores and chain retailers. At the same time, current economic conditions are putting the squeeze on small retail shops, the kind of locally owned and operated stores that once dominated local economies across the country. But is there a reason for consumers to get involved in this fight? Should customers favor one or the other in this competition? This article looks at 7 good reasons for consumers to shop more with their local retail establishments.
1. Shopping local helps the local economy
Both large and small shops provide jobs for local workers. However, profits generated in a local store have a much higher likelihood of staying in the local economy, whereas profits in a big box store tend more to go back to company headquarters or to be dispersed around the world to shareholders.
2. Local stores may provide better customer service
Some big retailers are well-known for offering outstanding service, but that is not always the case. Local stores, however, thrive on customer service. Knowing their customers and being responsive to their needs is what sets them apart and determines their success or failure.
3. Local stores give character and charm to local communities
Supporting these stores supports the local community and contributes to that character and charm, making the community more desirable and potentially helping property values.
4. The convenience of shopping local may save you money
The perception certainly exists that the local stores cost more than their chain competitors. However, when factoring in gas and automobile expenses to get to and from the big box stores, not to mention tolls and parking in some cases, along with your time, the local store may actually come out to be less expensive.
5. More local stores mean more local choices
Consumers benefit when they have more choices, both in where they shop and in the items available to them. Supporting local stores helps to ensure that choices will always be available, and that competition will help keep the local market regulated properly.
6. Local stores often provide more knowledgeable assistance
Local shops are often operated by subject matter experts. For example, a qualified bicycle mechanic who is passionate about riding may operate the local bike shop. By contrast, the bicycle department of the giant retail store may be staffed by novices who simply cannot offer the same level of advice and meaningful insight that the seasoned expert is able to offer in your neighborhood.
7. When you shop locally you have the opportunity to be known and appreciated by the merchant
There is just something about the feeling of walking into a store where you have done business before and feeling appreciated, being called by name, having the merchant ask about your family, having your previous purchases remembered, etc. That just simply is not something that big box retail will ever be able to duplicate.
Do you shop locally?