The advantages to shopping in your local community
From Special Reports
Residents of a given town or city are often encouraged to support local businesses by looking to these firms to fill their needs. Small businesses are not just integral parts of communities, employing millions across the country, they also are operations that fund the very communities they service.
Efforts to promote shopping local appeared to be working prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Commonwealth Financial Group, over the last several years there had been a shift in consumer purchasing behavior marked by a preference among consumers to support locally owned shops and stores over big-box retailers and even online shopping.
That shift to shopping local has been a lifeline to small businesses everywhere, particularly in Coweta County, during this year-long challenge in dealing with the pandemic. Last year’s “Shelter in Place” orders created a huge hit to so many local businesses. Even after re-opening, the struggles are still there and will be until this coronavirus can be put in the rear view mirror.
The following are some key reasons why shopping locally – especially now during the pandemic – not only benefits small business owners, but also the communities they call home and the customers they serve.
• More money stays in the community: According to the American Independent Business Alliance, for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remains in the community. Conversely, only 43 percent of every $100 spent at a chain retailer stays in the community.
• Job creation: The Business Alliance for Local Living Economies says local businesses create the majority of economic growth. They employ millions of Americans by creating roughly two-thirds of private sector jobs. Local business owners also tend to hire people who represent the demographics of the communities where the business is located, which may include historically underserved populations. (Note: this could also be titled Job saving as small businesses face huge challenges in today’s tough economic climate due to the pandemic. Shopping local can and will save not only jobs but businesses).
• Diversity of products: Local stores tend to diversify their products and services to meet the needs of the local communities, whereas chain stores often stock their shelves based on national demands.
• Personalized service: A small business owner may be more inclined to go to great lengths to make customers happy because the long-term success of the business depends on customers becoming repeat customers.
• Personal connection: Knowing the people behind a business facilitates a connection not easily achieved with other companies. Customers may celebrate when a favorite business succeeds and look to spread the word about that business because they feel like they played a positive role in its success.
Shopping locally had gained momentum before the pandemic and hopefully, will continue to fuel the many advantages to supporting local businesses.