I asked myself that question the other day after I heard someone comment about wanting to buy a ‘big store’ name brand product rather than one made local. Sure there are always things that you may only be able to find online, or from a big box store, but many products can be found locally and are even better quality. Lets look at some good reasons to buy local.
1. Benefit Yourself- Studies show that buying from locally owned business benefits the local economy more than buying from the big box chain. Local business give more back to the local economy. One study showed that locally owned businesses put an avereage of 52% back into the local economy compared to big chain rivals only contributing 14% back to the local economy. On the same note non-profits receive an average of 250% more support from locally owned small businesses than from larger business. That is a big difference that gives me some incentive to make the extra stop to buy local rather than stop at the big box.
2. Better Service and Better Local Economy- Local businesses have a much more vested interest in providing good customer service, and hiring people that will do the same. Small businesses also are the largest employer nationally, check out this statistic from SBA; “Fully 99 percent of all independent enterprises in the country employ fewer than 500 people. These small enterprises account for 52 percent of all U.S. workers, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.”
3. Buy what you want-Local business taylor their products to what their local customers want. Their product line is not dictated by a national sales agenda, but by their local market. This can also help ensure more innovation and lower prices over the long-term. Local businesses will strive to have the best products at the best possible prices, as that is what is best for their business.
4. Eat Local-local produce is fresher, as it gets to you quickly after being harvested. This makes it not only taste better, it can also have better nutritional value, as this will decline with time. This study shows that broccoli out of season that traveled from a warmer climate lost 50% of its vitamin C content compared to broccoli harvested locally in season. The same benefits of supporting local businesses also apply to local farmers. Eating local and seasonal produce can even save you money on your grocery bill, as foods in season are generally less expensive that imported foods bought out of season.
5. Improve your community-Local businesses are owned and operated by people who live in the community which makes them less likely to leave, and more invested in the community’s future.
After examining these reasons for shopping local, it did give me incentive to try and spend my money with local businesses when I can. The big box store, and online purchases in most communities cannot be entirely replaces by smaller local businesses, but it is an obvious benefit to the community and ourselves to try and support as many of our local businesses as we can.
What are some of the ways you try to shop local? I would love to hear your comments below!
Sustainable Connections was a great resource for these ideas.