You could be missing out if you don’t know about some of the surprisingly good reasons to shop local
You can get great deals on almost anything by shopping online. One online retailer has hundreds of styles of men’s jeans under $35 with some for as little as $10. Another big retailer has several dining room tables for sale under $200. And if you’re looking for a good book, there’s a national retailer that will give you exclusive offers and deals if you sign up for their email list. There’s nothing wrong with any of that, and who doesn’t like a bargain?
Often overlooked, however, is that the price tag isn’t the only factor in what you buy, and there are good reasons to shop local that, in the words of Rodney Dangerfield, “don’t get no respect.” Sometimes, of course, you have to go with that big retailer or online store. (Have you ever tried to find a winter coat in April or a swimsuit in January? Not so easy!) But once you start taking advantage of shopping locally, you’ll see why 70% of Americans have more confidence in small businesses than they do in large companies.
7 Reasons to Shop Local:
A deep dive into what shopping local means
Everyone has a different idea of what it means to shop local, and the reality is that we don’t live in an all-or-nothing world. There are locally owned franchises, locally owned small businesses, home-based businesses, regionally operated business that by definition are small (under 500 employees), and the list goes on. Regardless of what your interpretation may be, any small, local business has a certain “feel” to it. And that’s just the beginning of the benefits.
1. Better customer service
Local businesses have an extra incentive to offer excellent customer service. Why? They are your neighbors, their kids go to school with your kids, you run into each other at a restaurant, or you see each other on the jogging path. Chances are, if you have a problem or question, you’ll get the attention you need rather than getting the run-around from employees who don’t have the authority to truly help you.
2. Better ROI
The return on investment (ROI) is a phrase generally reserved for marketing or investing, but it’s exceedingly applicable as one of the best reasons to shop local. One study in Salt Lake City, Utah, found that locally owned retail stores return “52.0% of all revenue to the local economy” as compared to big-name retailers, which returned 13.6% of their revenue to the local economy. For restaurants, those respective numbers are similarly notable: 78.6% as compared to 30.4%. Another study in Portland, Maine, noted that “shifting 10% of consumer spending ... from national chains to locally owned businesses would result in an additional $127 million in economic activity with 874 new jobs generating over $35 million in wages.”
That is all money that can go into schools, infrastructure, social services, lower taxes, paying bills, buying homes, or reducing local deficits.
3. More options
Walk into any big box store in the country, and you’ll see the same set of sheets, the same dishware, and the same shirts. Walk into a small shop in Phoenix, Arizona; Spokane, Washington; or Duluth, Minnesota, and you’ll find unique items: locally crafted clothing, unique art, or the perfect gift for your cousin who collects coffee mugs emblazoned with local landmarks.
4. Civic character
People can take a lot of pride in their neighborhood. Visit any small town or bustling city, and you can get an earful about finding the best bagels, the best cup of coffee, or the can’t-miss event. Sharing these local gems with friends and visitors gives us a sense of local pride. But without supporting local businesses, that character, that one-of-a-kind shop, can’t last.
5. Community design
Another of the many good reasons to shop local, and a reason that can impact your neighborhood more than most people realize, is the influence that local businesses have on the literal shape of your community. Locally owned businesses are going to care a lot more about zoning laws, development, traffic laws, and business licensing than a large retailer whose owners live hundreds of miles away from the results of any changes to the neighborhood.
6. Improved health
It could be, anyway. While shopping might not be the ideal exercise, shopping locally can get you out of the house and walking around. And if you walk around your local farmer's market, you can also get fresh fruit and produce, which is good for your health, too.
7. Increased property value
It may sound far-fetched, but shopping locally can increase your property value. When you support your local businesses, you help maintain a vibrant, exciting neighborhood. That vibrant neighborhood is what home buyers are looking for. For proof, look at the real estate listings in your area and see how many of them list walking distance to restaurants or shops as one of the amenities.
These are just some of the reasons to shop local. Spend an afternoon shopping in your local shops, and you can probably come up with several more.
Another way to take care of your neighborhood, or more specifically, your home, is to make sure you have the home insurance coverage you need. Call your local Pekin Insurance agent to review your policy.