Buying locally is a great way for consumers to find the products and services they’re looking for and help their local economy along the way. The small businesses in your community may be owned by your next door neighbor, who relies on his or her fellow townspeople to keep the business going strong.
Buying locally is not only beneficial for local business owners, but buying locally benefits consumers and members of the community in a number of ways.
* Buying locally creates jobs. The number of unemployed men and women has gradually declined in recent years, but those figures are still high in many communities. Buying locally creates jobs in your community, potentially creating a job for you or a friend or family member.
* Buying locally helps the environment. Buying within your community reduces the amount of fuel you’re likely to use for a weekend shopping trip while also reducing pollution. In addition, many local store owners use local materials and ingredients, reducing the amount of fuel consumed to get products into the store.
* Buying locally creates a more closely knit community. Juggling a career and a family can make it hard for men and women to get to know their neighbors and other members of their community. Buying locally is an opportunity to strengthen that bond with your neighbors, creating a close knit community in which residents may feel safer and more comfortable.
* Buying locally is more convenient. Convenience is paramount to many consumers, and buying locally saves both time and money. Driving to a faraway mall or shopping center or paying costly online shipping fees is not nearly as quick or convenient as shopping within your community, where you can purchase and take home items on the same day without using a full tank of gas or paying for shipping.
* Buying locally benefits your local economy. In 2004, the consultancy Civic Economics was commissioned by Chicago’s Andersonville Chamber of Commerce to examine the economic impact of 10 local businesses against that of chain businesses. The study found that of every $100 spent at local businesses, $68 remained in the local economy, while only $43 of every $100 spent at chain stores remained in the local economy. That’s a significant boost to your local economy, and all it requires is shopping at local retailers.
* Buying locally can increase your property value. Homeowners might be able to increase the value of their homes by buying locally. A joint study from Independent We Stand and Civic Economics found that cities with a strong centralized small business district had a 54 percent greater increase in property values than communities that did not have such a district. A more thriving local community, including a thriving shopping district, is no doubt attractive to prospective home buyers.
The reasons for shopping locally are many. In addition to helping local business owners, consumers who shop locally are also helping themselves.