June 26, 2015
Small and independent businesses are at the heart of our communities and it’s now more important than ever for the community to get behind them and show our support. The economist and author Michael Schuman highlighted this by saying that when you support local business ‘control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs’. Below are ten more reasons why shopping local and supporting your local businesses will have a positive impact on you and your community.
1) Great for the local economy
Local businesses are the backbone of our economy and shopping at local businesses is much better for the economy of your community than using large chains or faceless superstores. A strong culture of buying locally is the foundation of a sustainable local economy. Research has shown that spending £10 with a local independent shop, means up to an additional £50 goes back in to the local economy. Additionally,researchers in the US have found that for every $100 dollars spent at a local business $68 on average goes back into the local community compared to just $48 when buying from big box retailers. The shop owners you give your money to when you buy from local businesses are also the same people that go to your local pub or café so will circulate the money throughout the community and help your local area thrive.
2) Creates local jobs
When you shop at, and invest, in your local businesses you help create more jobs in the local community. Did you know that small local business is largest employer nationally and provides jobs to the residents of our communities? In some areas local employers are actually more likely pay better wages and provide better benefits for their workers
3) Supporting British entrepreneurs
By buying from local businesses you are supporting the people who have helped make this country what it is, the great British entrepreneurs. Innovators such as Sir Alan Sugar, who started selling car aerials from the back of a van bought with his savings, relied heavily on the support of the local community to kick start the growth of his business during early difficulties. So why not go and buy from your local businesses? You might just be giving the next Richard Branson that gentle push in the right direction.
4) Better shopping experience
Shopping at the local high street is also a much more rewarding and satisfying experience for customer compared to trawling through massive superstores confused about where everything is. Your high street is usually only a few minutes away so a quick walk down to the shops is a lot more stress free than driving round and round a multi-story car park trying to find a parking space. Shopping local also provides a much more independent shopping experience. Local shops stock an inventory based on their own customers choices rather than national fashion trends so you can buy what you want rather than what someone tells you to want.
5) Better quality of service
Local business owners will provide a much better quality of service because they are passionate and they really do care about their customer’s satisfaction. Local shop owners are much more likely to go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to their customers, whether this means your local baker putting those extra hours in so they can customise your cake exactly how you wanted it or your local butcher throwing in those last few sausages for free when you don’t quite have enough change to pay for everything.
6) Shops are more creative and unique
Local high streets are home to those amazingly diverse and quirky little shops that will stock the ‘where did you get that’ jewellery as well as all the other fun products you just can’t find anywhere else. In order for these local businesses to be able to compete with each other they must find their own style and identity in order to stand out so they choose products based on their own personal interests rather than a national sales plan. This makes local businesses ideal for finding that unique and personal gift that is perfect for the ones you care about.
7) They help build communities/ community identity
Communities can be defined by the distinctive businesses along the high street and the personalities of the owners who run these shops. A high street filled with vibrant shop fronts is the perfect place to meet and interact with the local community. This is exemplified by local cafes, craft shops and bookstores who try to stimulate custom by hosting events such as knitting clubs and book discussions. Not only this, but these events have a dual nature as they can also act as a catalyst for increased community spirit and identity. Furthermore the shop owners you interact with are the same people who run the local kids football team or organise charitable events in the community. So supporting local businesses helps you support your friends and neighbours.
8) Local businesses invest more into charities and the community
Buying locally also means that you are indirectly supporting your own community because local businesses are known to be much more generous in terms of giving back to their own community. Researchers have found that non-profit organisations receive on average 250% more support from small businesses than they do from large businesses. Local businesses are often heavily involved with community events and supporting local causes because they live in the local area and are just as interested in helping and pushing for improvement in the community as you are!
9) Good for the environment/ Ethical choice
It has been found that using local business is also much more environmentally friendly than shopping at large corporations. Small independent businesses source locally and use less packaging than large retailers. This reduces their global footprint as they require less transportation costs and pollution, and leads to far less waste which only goes to fill up landfills. Added to this, local businesses are predominantly within walking distance or within easy access of public transport whereas large megastores tend to be situated on the fringes of many towns. This means that by shopping locally you can do your bit in saving the environment by reduced car use, leading to less air pollution and cleaner communities.
10) It’s fun!
Shopping in your local high street or town centre is a much more enjoyable experience than looking around one large superstore or trying to find your way through the maze of a large shopping complex. Local shopping gives you the opportunity to interact and socialise with the employees as well as having the chance to bump into friends and family within the local community, therefore supporting your local businesses can make your trip more than just a quick visit the shops.