I love some things about this Solstice, Hannukah, Chrismas, Kwaanza season. It’s truly the season of good cheer and well wishes but times are hard. No one is flush with money. Everyone is reluctant to increase their debt.
Local business people and charities make a significant positive contribution to the quality of life in our communities all year round. Shopping local is the first step towards ensuring community success and security in a competitive global market and I’m shopping local. How about you?
1. Shop local and keep money in your community
Dollars spent in locally-owned business have up to three times the impact on the community as those spent at corporate chains. For every dollar spent for retail goods and services within the community there’s strong multiplier effect. Every dollar that a community member spends outside the community diminishes the economic health of the community.
2. Shop local and and keep jobs in your community
Shopping locally helps maintain jobs in the community preventing outsourcing and the outflow of economic wealth. Locally owned businesses may be more motivated to give workers better wages and benefits.
3. Shop local and keep the tax flow community based
Chains can drain tax revenue from communities when governments hand out millions in subsidies to national businesses, nominally in the interest of “job-creation.” Independent businesses pay more local, provincial and federal taxes than mega-corporations do, keeping the tax flow community-based.
4. Shop local and keep the scale small and livable
Local owners are typically more invested in thoughtful, livable planning for their communities, and their stores often require less physical space than corporate chains in suburban shopping centers.
5. Shop local and keep the decision making local
Local ownership means that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
6. Shop local and and keep the social experience and customer service
Providing excellent customer service is the way local businesses set themsleves apart from chain stores. Shopping at local stores makes them a destination for socializing. Local businesses help build strong communities by linking citizens and supporting local causes. They donate a significant portion of their revenues to local non-profit groups, sports teams, cultural activities and other important causes.
7. Shop local and keep local farmers in business
Many chain supermarkets have appalling ethics, particularly in their relationships with farmers in other countries. Purchasing from local farmers keeps them in business and places ethically grown fresh food on our tables.
8. Shop local and keep transportation costs down
Thriving local shops reduce fuel requirements. The less distance consumer products have traveled the greater the benefits are to the environment due to reduced congestion and pollution, storage and transportation costs. The less distance food travels from farm to plate, the fresher it is and the greater the benefits are to the environment.
The holiday shopping season is upon us and locally-owned businesses want you to think of them when you shop. Christmas is a time of goodwill and encouraging small businesses to stay in business is where I’m at. The only gifts I give are those I make and those I purchase locally.