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Shop Locally for the Holidays to Give Your Community the Perfect Gift

November 30, 20207 minute read

The local pizza place around the corner sponsors a neighborhood peewee league team. The architecture firm a few blocks away spearheads efforts to keep the neighborhood parks clean. The local sporting goods store at the shopping center leads a charity drive for the neighborhood community center.

These are just a few of the ways local businesses benefit the local community. National chains also contribute locally, but not to the same degree. For example, roughly 30% of the money spent at national chains stays in the community. That rate more than doubles for businesses local to the community.

With shopping about to ramp up for the holidays, let’s take a look at how supporting locally owned businesses and buying locally produced products can be a huge benefit to your community.

Shopping locally keeps your money at home.

Local businesses support other local businesses. A woman working at the local hair salon may choose the neighborhood coffee shop over the global chain because she has friends who work there. A small-town restaurant gets services from the small-town carpet cleaners in an effort to support another budding entrepreneur.

These are conscious choices. The global coffee shop might be more convenient, yet people working at the local business will go that bit of extra distance to get a latté at the local spot. Bolstering the businesses of friends and neighbors strengthens community bonds and keeps money in the community. In fact, 68% of money spent locally stays in the community in some way, shape or form.

Woman opening store door

Shopping locally creates jobs.

Most of the economic growth in this country is created by local businesses. They’re responsible for employing more than 77 million people. Independent businesses create about two-thirds of the jobs in the private sector.

They couldn’t create those jobs without you spending your money in the community. In fact, every $10 million spent at a local business creates 57 jobs. That same amount of money spent at a big-box, mega business like Amazon creates just 14 jobs. In other words, spending money where you live creates more opportunity where you live.

Shopping locally strengthens the community.

A thriving small business environment encourages people to stay. Those people, in turn, shop locally. That could mean grabbing some takeout nearby, running errands in town, or hitting up the local shops for clothes or gardening supplies. The money stays local, creating a tight-knit community vibe.

Shopping locally is better for the local environment.

If you can walk to your local shopping center, that reduces the need for cars and cuts down on your carbon footprint. The behavior of local businesses can help out the environment as well. For example, local restaurants can work together to create a demand for local ingredients. And local businesses often source local products, which reduces the environmental impact created by transportation of those goods.

Woman holding wrapped presents

Shopping locally rewards better customer service.

Certain items that you want or need may only be of use in your specific area. While a national chain will carry things based on national demand, local businesses can carry things based on local demand. If neither place carries what you want, there’s a far greater likelihood that the local place can special order it. Whereas, the national chain will still need that special order to fit within their national strategic priorities.

Another cool thing: When you shop locally, there are greater opportunities to get to know the business owner. Your personal relationship can have a significant impact on how they do business. The store owner is more likely to go above and beyond for friends and neighbors. That kind of customer service builds customer loyalty, encouraging you to come back, strengthening and stabilizing the community as a whole.

Shopping locally helps maintain unique local flare.

It’s the local shops in the local communities that are responsible for the pride and personality of the area. Everybody who eats burgers has their favorite chain. But when you mention one of the local spots — like a Dick’s or Kidd Valley or Red Mill in Seattle — people light up. It’s not just a quick bite at Red Mill; it’s an event. Also there’s this rule of thumb: The local burger just tastes better than the chain.

The circle of life.

Now look, we’re not trying to draw a line in the sand here. Big-box retailers exist for a reason, and there are certainly benefits to shopping at them.

But when it comes to taking care of your community — especially during this time when COVID-19 is having a devastating impact on small, local businesses — shopping locally is a great way to do it.

Buying local keeps money in the community, which helps with stabilization and growth. Growth helps with job creation. Job creation helps people live in the community where they work. When they shop, they shop locally. Shopping locally keeps the money in the community, which helps with stabilization and growth … You get the idea. It’s the local community circle of life. Let’s keep it going and growing this holiday season.

Your perspective is important to us and helps us see where we’re hitting the mark and where there might be areas to improve.