Doing business locally helps support the brands and businesses right in your community. It also ensures money is cycled back into your local economy. Buying local support brands in your area, stimulates your personal economy, and ensures that you have abundant choices when it comes to products and services in your area. Buying local is also an essential component of green living; locally produced items do not need to be shipped across the country to get to you. In total, shopping local benefits both your environment and community. Let’s explore the reasons to buy local in further detail.
1. Support your Local Economy
When you shop local the money you spend cycles back into your community. This action supports businesses operating in your region. As a result, local businesses are able to continue employing residents within the community. According to a recent study by the American Independence Business Alliance, for every $100 that is spent with a local business, about $68 remains in the city. That same $100 spent at a national chain or big-box retailer leaves only $43 in the community.
2. Access Healthy, Local Food
When you shop at the local farmer’s market for produce, you support the market itself and those who sell there. Farmers sign up to come to a market based on foot traffic and sales. Consequently, when customers make it worth their while, they continue to show up and offer healthy produce for the entire community to enjoy.
By shopping local, you get access to a variety of healthy, artisan level ingredients for your family. You’ll also be able to serve up healthy meals with the freshest possible ingredients. The produce won’t have to be shipped from across the country for days before it reaches you. Even if you do not have a local farmer’s market, shopping at a local grocery store that purchases produce grown in your community has the same impact on your ability to access local, healthy food. Organic, grass-fed beef, local honey, fresh eggs and more can be purchased locally to support small farms and business people.
In contrast, the peach that appears on your big-box grocer’s shelf is picked before it’s ripe and has been grown to withstand a journey. Additionally, mass production optimization also means you may not get the best nutritional value. As big-box vendors will consider optimizing fruit to gain more value for each shipment.
The peach at your local peach orchard or farmer’s market has been allowed to ripen on the tree and picked just before the point of sale. It has also likely been bred for taste and texture, not for its ability to withstand a long boat or train ride.
3. Get Expertise on Demand
You can buy hobby supplies, DIY tools and more online, but who will be there to help you when you run into a problem? As a patron of your local yarn shop, lumber yard, or hobby shop, you’ll have access to experts who can help you plan your project, select materials, and troubleshoot issues when they arise. Your involvement with an online business only goes so far – and often ends once delivery is complete. Shopping locally also helps you build long beneficial relationships and expand your network locally.
4. Decrease Your Carbon Footprint
The long ride from supplier to store means that plenty of gasoline is needed to get big-box store items from one place to another. From gas consumption to emission fumes, buying local cuts the carbon footprint of the products and services you need. If you are concerned about the environmental impact of your lifestyle or your overall carbon footprint, then buying locally is your best bet.
5. Personalized Experiences
When you shop locally, you can meet the person who actually produces the items or services you buy. From doing business at your local bank to buying custom made clothing or accessories, you can see, speak to and learn from the people who create the products you enjoy and buy. A friendly face and a real human instead of a robotic voice is an excellent reason to shop local.
6. Preserve Your Community
When you buy local, you support the brands that make your community unique. If you love the eclectic, charming look of your downtown shopping district, supporting local business can ensure that uniqueness remains untouched. Big-box stores and national chains are homogeneous by design – your town will rapidly begin to look like everywhere else if local brands fail to thrive.
7. Receive Better Service
It can be challenging to track down someone to help you when you work with a large corporation or brand. That 800 number is just the start; you’ll usually end up speaking to multiple parties before (hopefully) resolving your problem. The person you ultimately speak to likely has little decision-making power or authority and really won’t care whether you continue to use the brand or not.
When you need help with something at your local bank, bookstore or service brand, shopping local gives you an opportunity to speak to someone directly invested in the brand and the local community. You’ll be able to get someone quickly, without a lot of hassle and often speak directly to the owner or manager. Someone with the authority to help you right away. You’re not a faceless account number or order number to a local business, you’re a real, valued customer who is not easy to replace. This often results in much better customer service and attention to detail.
From supporting a thriving local economy to maintaining the level of service and expertise offered in your own community, buying local has a significant impact on your local area. When you commit to shopping locally, you do more than just make a purchase from someone you know, you’re adding and enhancing the entire network of your community and making it a better place for all.