Often we tend to think of convenience before other factors, especially when it comes to shopping or dining in our community. Big box stores provide the one-stop opportunity. While there are occasions when visiting one of these stores may be necessary, there are many reasons to support locally owned and operated businesses.According to the Small Business Administration, only about one-half of new establishments survive 5 years or more. Motivation to patronize a small local shop could be that we don’t want to see anyone fail. I believe, however, that in this age of “connected disconnection”, people search for ways to feel a real sense of community.
You could dash into a large, impersonal store to pick up most of what’s on your list and it would certainly save you time. But think about what you’d get from visiting smaller, locally- owned stores. There’s a personal boost that is accompanied by a financial boost to your area.
Smaller, locally owned and operated businesses help strengthen the local economy. Money that is spent there is returned when profits stay in your community.
The “mom and pop” stores tend to give back quite a bit to the area as well by donating a portion of sales to local charities, schools, or organizations.
Having small, locally- owned shops gives your area much more character. The look and feel of these businesses tend to be more unique, making the shopping and dining experience more interesting.
Local businesses tend to be viewed as more trustworthy. Word of mouth is powerful, and if someone has personal experience with a business owner as part of or outside of their work, it can go a long way towards creating a good reputation in business. It can also work the other way around. Knowing several small business owners, I can honestly say they are far more interested in providing a positive experience to their customers.
Environmental impact is a substantial concern today. Locally owned and operated businesses typically have less impact on the environment because they often stock, or use, local products and ingredients that don’t have to be shipped from across the country.
Product selection in small, family-owned shops tends to cater to the specific local population.
If solid, trustworthy business practices, environmental benefits, and the desire to invest in the financial well-being of the community aren’t the only thing that matters to you, there is another very good reason to take advantage of shopping locally owned and operated stores and restaurants. The personal experience you get when you stroll into a small shop can make you a true believer. The absence of the hustle-bustle and cold, generic reception will start your experience off on a positive note. Being able to take time to talk with someone about the products makes you a more educated consumer. Feeling welcome and valued as a customer will prompt you to return.
Whether you need to purchase a last-minute present for the holidays, or you need a bite to eat while doing your shopping, visit a locally owned and operated business and give yourself, and the community, the gift of support.