A movement is upon us. It’s a movement that is attracting the local consumer away from large, impersonal big-box retailers and introduces them to the people doing business in the cities where they live. These local entrepreneurs range from growers, makers, brewers, service providers, small scale re-sellers, spas to bakeries to farmer market vendors and the gate way to the cottage industry.
These are local entrepreneurs that are following their passion, enriching your community, and the life blood of a sustainable local economy. When consumers supports their local business owners, they enjoys benefits they can’t possibly get from shopping at national chains.
Here are some top reasons to support your local entrepreneurs.
1. Improve your family’s health.
Buying local foods and locally made products have numerous health benefits to your family. When you buy from local farmers, you have access to fruits and vegetables that you know are chemical free, as well as grass-fed meats, fresh eggs, and dairy from cows that feast on local green grass each day. All the horrible things that come from “Factory Farming” just don’t happen with your local farmers. You are more likely to find “stewards of the land” when a family is making their living off the land…they are not lining the CEO’s of a corporation who could care less of the future of the local lands.
2. Elevate the local economy.
The Institute for Local Self-Reliance conducted perhaps the simplest study of the local multiplier effect in several small communities in 2003. The study examined how much of a dollar spent at a local independent store is re-spent in the local area as payroll, goods/services purchased from area businesses, profits spent locally by owners, and as donations to area charities. The study found each $100 spent at local small businesses generated $45 of secondary local spending, compared to $14 for a big-box chain. This has also been confirmed through many Civic Economics studies.
3. Know the people behind the business – realize their passion.
When you personally know the people behind the business where you’re buying local products and services, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Along with the rest of the community, you celebrate when a favorite local business succeeds and you mourn when it’s forced to shut its doors. This personal investment isn’t quite as present when a chain business closes or is bought out by an even larger global corporation.
PLUS owners and employees of local small businesses are happier. Check it out yourself. When you shop local small biz and a corporate chain notice the sincere attitude between the people working there.
4. Keep your community unique and awesome.
Local businesses give your community its flavor and is a big player in your community identity. Towns across our country have similar chain restaurants, grocery and department stores but that diner down the street where you have breakfast every Saturday morning is one-of-a-kind. Ever been to Gabriel’s Cafe in beautiful Nanaimo, BC – you will understand this loud and clear! The combined presence of your town’s many local businesses makes it different from every other city in the world. By supporting those businesses instead of chains, you ensure that uniqueness is preserved as a part of your community.
5. Way better customer service.
If you’ve ever dealt with a large corporation, you know getting help can be a nightmare. You’ll call a 1-800 number, only to be transferred seven times and put on hold. Even when you speak to a customer service representative, that person is so far removed from the decision-making process, there’s little concern that the company will lose you as a customer.
When you shop local, the business owner is usually directly connected to every employee in the store. That leads to a personal approach that often means any problem you have is taken seriously.
6. More personalized service.
Having the owner nearby also means that owner personally knows their customers. They know the products you buy or the services you request on a regular basis and can tailor services to make your experience even better. A local gardening shop owner may learn about a new product on the market that can help you with a pest control problem you mentioned on one of your visits, for instance, and can order that product as part of their selections.
Buying local has benefits beyond mere convenience. When you support your local entrepreneurs, you get a better level of service, as well as helping make your community a better place to live.
Now we are fooling ourselves if we think EVERYTHING can be local – you are not going to find an automotive or TV factory in your neighborhood but there are many ways you can shift your shopping to support local where it counts.
We just hope the next time you go to spend your hard earned money you “think local first” and invest in your community.
About the author
Craig Hanson is a serial entrepreneur and CEO and Co-founder of ThrivingLocally.com.
Through his passion and admiration for the local small business owner he strives to provide the local entrepreneur with tools and advice in order to be successful so that they can achieve their business dreams.
“It’s not about making a million bucks….it’s about making a life worth living”