We know - you've probably heard the phrase "Shop Local" so much by now that you just tune it out; like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons, "Wah wah wawah."
"When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace."Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust
You also probably think it's all about local businesses making more money. While that's a part of it, the real deal is that you'll be much better off personally if you shop local - even if something costs a little more.
We're glad you asked. Allow us to share just a few ways that choosing to shop local can benefit you and your family immensely.
- Small, locally owned businesses are the backbone of America. They're the businesses that stick around your town for decades and generations. You won't see them packing up like carpetbaggers to move to the town that offers them the highest incentives. They're an integral part of the community.
- Stable small businesses help increase property values and quality of life. These benefits are the result of a vibrant business community making your town a desirable place to live, combined with more local people who have more money to spend.
- Local businesses support local causes and community non-profits. Did you know that they give about 250% more to local non-profits than chain stores? That shouldn't be surprising, though, since these businesses are vested in helping their communities be the best that they can be. Have you ever been to a youth sports event and seen the names of the sponsors on the back of the shirts? They'll almost always be local businesses.
- For every $100 spent at a local business, $68 goes back into the local economy. In comparison, statistics show that only $48 goes back into the local economy for every $100 spent at a chain store. National chain stores don’t typically buy local services or goods but local businesses do so extensively. From services such as attorneys, accountants, cleaning services, advertising, and lawn care, to products such as office supplies, local businesses support other local businesses.
- Small businesses create jobs. They provide the most jobs to local residents and as a group are the largest employer nationally.
- Local businesses tend to be rated higher in customer satisfation. These are neighbors serving neighbors. Not only do they hire people who understand you better, they also care what you think and take more time to get to know you.
- Vibrant local businesses help keep your community unique. Unlike the vanilla suburbs of larger cities, where chains abound, local business provide local flavor. These one-of-a-kind businesses help to create a distinctive community, which makes your town a great place to live and also attracts more tourism dollars. In the words of Richard Moe, the President of the National Historic Preservation Trust, “when people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.”
- Local businesses generate tax dollars. When you buy online, you may save money but the loss in sales tax revenue to the state and local community has to be made up somewhere and can likely result in higher tax rates to compensate. And don't forget about the property taxes that local businesses pay every year; those dollars go into local schools, government, and infrastructure.
- Local businesses use less tax dollars. They require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned businesses entering the community.
- Buying local helps the environment. Local businesses are typically located on less land, carry more locally-made products, locate closer to residents, and help to reduce traffic and air pollution. Since you're not driving out of town to shop or having goods delivered from across the country, you're saving transportation money for yourself and reducing the consumption of fossil fuels overall.