Supporting Local Businesses: Why It Benefits You and Your Community
In today’s world, it’s often more convenient and sometimes cheaper to shop at big chain stores. However, the advantages of supporting local businesses far outweigh the drawbacks. In this article, we’ll explore the various ways in which supporting local businesses benefits you in the short and long run, while also shedding light on how big box stores can negatively impact the local economy and the health of local businesses.
The Downsides of Big Chains
When big box stores establish themselves in a city, they don’t necessarily boost the local economy or draw a significant number of outsiders to the area. Instead, they tend to redirect existing consumer spending. The population doesn’t suddenly start spending more money because a Walmart, Target, or other chain moves into town. They divert their dollars from local businesses to the large chain, primarily due to factors like convenience, lower prices, or product selection.
Research reveals that 85% of sales generated by a new Walmart come at the expense of existing businesses in that area, with only 16% representing entirely new sales from people residing outside the city who are attracted to the big new store.
Where Does Big Box Money Go?
Large corporations with multiple chains across the country usually have their head offices located far from your hometown, often in major metropolitan cities. These headquarters house vast teams responsible for production, marketing, accounting, legal matters, human resources, business development, purchasing, and more. The wages of these employees primarily benefit the city where the head office is located, rather than your local community.
This setup can be favorable for the city hosting the corporate headquarters, as the employees there will spend their earnings locally, stimulating that city’s economy. However, your town is unlikely to see much of that money again.
Local businesses, on the other hand, tend to circulate their revenue more within the local economy. Research shows that local businesses reinvest 52% of their revenue in the local economy, whereas big chains return as little as 14%.
Local businesses are also more likely to support their communities by advertising in local publications, purchasing office supplies locally, and hiring local service providers for various needs, from architecture and design to accounting and legal services.
10 Reasons to Support Local Businesses
Let’s delve into some of the compelling reasons why supporting local businesses is vital for your community’s well-being:
More Dollars Kept Local: Shopping locally keeps money within your community, fostering a healthy economic cycle where dollars are continuously circulated locally.
More Tourists: Local businesses offering unique products, services, and experiences attract tourists, injecting additional funds into the local economy.
Better Jobs: Local businesses, when supported, have the opportunity to grow and create more jobs, including higher-paying positions.
More Community Involvement: Local business owners often contribute to local organizations, events, and charities, strengthening the fabric of the community.
More Commitment: Local business owners are less likely to abandon the community during economic hardships, fostering stability.
Less Environmental Impact: Local businesses typically operate from smaller, more sustainable spaces, reducing their environmental footprint compared to big box stores.
Specialty Businesses: Local businesses cater to niche markets and can provide more specialized products and services that meet your unique needs.
Knowledgeable Staff: Local business owners and their employees are often experts in their fields, offering better guidance and product knowledge.
Better Customer Service: Local business owners are deeply invested in their businesses, ensuring top-notch customer service and personal attention.
Tax Dollars: Increased spending on local businesses can boost the local tax base, improving public services and infrastructure.
Supporting local doesn’t require a radical shift in your shopping habits. Even reallocating just 10% of your monthly spending from large chains to local businesses can make a significant impact on your community. This change not only benefits you personally but also contributes to the vitality and resilience of your local economy, ensuring a brighter future for everyone in your community.
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