When someone asks, “What do you love about your community?” many of us begin running through a mental list of local businesses: the boutique where you always do your holiday shopping, the amazing ice cream shop you visit after long bike rides, the pizzeria that delivers what has to be the world’s greatest Neapolitan to your front door every Friday.
Local businesses aren’t just “in” your community—they ARE your community. Those storefronts on main street give your town its unique character, making it a place where you love to live and others love to visit. They also play an outsized role in the local economy, employing your neighbors, sourcing products and services from other local businesses and recirculating the money you spend within the town.
This year has been especially hard on local businesses, which is why we’re reminding everyone to think carefully about where they spend their money. Every time you make a purchase, you have a choice: You can give money to huge corporations, chain restaurants and online retailers. Or, you can support the independent businesses right here, funding jobs and making a big impact on the local economy. It really is up to you.
Here are a few reasons to go local:
The money you spend in your community STAYS in your community.
When you buy an album from the indy vinyl shop down the street—rather than ordering it online—the owner of that shop uses your money to cover operating costs, like utilities, equipment and payroll for employees. Then, the dollars they spent begin to recirculate within the community. The money you spent on that album flows from one local business to the next, funding jobs and stimulating the economy.
Of course, this happens when you spend your money at a chain retailer, too—but not nearly to the same extent. When it comes to the local economy, independent retailers return more than 3X as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors.
You can see the same trend in your favorite local pizza shop, too. Locally owned independent restaurants return 2X as much to the local economy compared to chain restaurants.
Going local is better for the environment.
This is one of the less obvious perks, but it makes a lot of sense. When you buy a sweatshirt from that local boutique, you conserve the fuel and packaging that would otherwise be consumed if you had ordered from an online retailer. Another reason to feel good about going local!
Local businesses donate to local causes.
Local businesses donate to causes within your community at more than twice the rate of chains! We mentioned above that this has been a hard year for small businesses, and the same is true for nonprofits—shelters, food banks, clinics, etc. Keep them in mind when you’re considering where to spend your money.
Local businesses create local jobs.
This one’s pretty simple: Local independent businesses create higher-paying jobs for your neighbors.
And that’s good for everyone—not only those who are employed, but the entire local economy. When your neighbors have higher incomes, they have more spending power, which means that more money will circulate through your community.
Local sales contribute to local sales tax.
No one LIKES paying taxes. But, when you spend locally instead of online, the sales tax revenue from your purchase is reinvested right here in your community.
Local businesses give your community character.
Imagine a town with only chain restaurants, big-box stores and online retailers. Would you want to visit there? No, probably not. Would you want to live there? No way!
The things we love about our communities are the things that make them unique: the people, the culture and the character of the place that is just a little bit different—or maybe a LOT different—than any other town on the planet.
But we can’t take that uniqueness for granted. To preserve the distinct character of our communities, we need to choose carefully where we spend our money and what businesses we support.
With that said, we’ll leave you with a simple call to action: If you love the people and culture of your community, show it by supporting local businesses.
This year, support your community by shopping at small retailers, ordering food from independent restaurants, staying at local hotels and visiting nearby attractions. Share this post using #CelebrateLocal to remind your friends to support local businesses.