It may seem like those days are gone forever, lost in a sea of big box stores and faceless cashiers, but the local movement has been making a comeback in recent years From concerns about suburban sprawl to worries about the environment, there are many reasons why shoppers have been taking a step away from the big box mentality and giving their local shops another look. If you doubt the value of acting locally, just take a look at the top 10 ways shopping local helps the community, the economy, and the environment.
1) Local stores give back to the community. Local merchants give back to the community in a variety of different ways, from buying those Little League uniforms to serving as mentors for youths who might otherwise turn to a life of crime. No matter how good their intentions, big box stores simply cannot match the level of commitment and community involvement local stores can provide.
2) Local communities help to support the local tax base. When the tax base suffers, everyone in the community suffers, so supporting local merchants is good for everyone in the community. Many communities that have seen their downtowns decimated have also experienced a spike in local taxes, so patronizing your local stores can be good for your bottom line.
3) Local stores carry unique merchandise not handled by the big box stores. Big box stores by their very nature can only carry so much merchandise, and that means you may not be able to find the unique items you need there. Local stores know the needs of their customers, and they are able to order accordingly.
4) Local stores give character to the community. We have all had the experience of driving across the state or across the country, only to experience a disconcerting sameness. The downtown communities used to offer a relief from that generic look, and downtowns can thrive again if each of us does our part.
5) Buying from local merchants provides personal interaction that big box stores simply cannot match. Personal interaction is a big part of the buying experience, and local merchants can provide that personal interaction. The entire purchasing process can be much more satisfying when you actually know the store owner and his or her family.
6) Local stores employ your friends and neighbors. When you buy from local merchants you are helping to keep members of your community, from your friends in the church to your colleagues on the Chamber of Commerce.
7) Local stores can lessen the environmental impact of retailing. We have all seen the big box stores move into town and buy up the local farms and other open land. Local merchants tend to have less of an impact on the environment, so buying local can be good for the Earth as well.
8) Local stores provide better choices for consumers. While every big box store stocks the same merchandise, local merchants can afford to be a little more creative. If there is a product you have to have, chances are your local store owners will be able to find just what you need.
9) Store owners plow money back into the community. The owners of local businesses have a vested interest in the long term health of their communities, and they know that when their communities thrive they thrive as well. Local store owners have a commitment to their communities that no big box retailer can match.
10) Local stores provide peace of mind. When you buy from a local merchant you know where your merchandise is coming from, and that can provide real peace of mind. This can be particularly important when it comes to grocery stores – being able to talk to the owner about where the meat and produce came from can give you real peace of mind.