Does supporting local businesses really make a difference?
We’re slowly entering an age where what we feed our loved ones, and where the products we buy come from, is important to us. The regulatory practices in many other countries are not as strict as our FDA regulations. On the contrary, there are a handful of countries that have even stricter regulations than the U.S. Nevertheless, many products and services we buy are imported from outside of the U.S. Additionally, there are American companies that have factories in other countries for cheaper labor. Yet we still overlook local businesses and head over to these same corporate stores. We assume buying local will be more expensive. With this in mind, it is easy to question whether supporting local businesses and ‘buying local’ actually makes any difference at all.
It does. Here’s why:
Buying Local = Keeping $$$ Local. Local businesses recycle revenue earned back into your community as opposed to larger multi-million dollar businesses. Local businesses tend to give back to their community and support local causes. It offers an economic advantage and strengthens relationships with other businesses and neighbors such as schools and churches.
Jobs. Local businesses tend to hire from within the community. They also are more likely to provide better wages and benefits for their employees.
Small business is – quite frankly – big business. The Small Business Administration identified that there are more than 28.2 million businesses operating in the United States as of March 2014, with about 63% of new jobs being created from small businesses between 1993 and mid 2013. Of these 28.2 million businesses, most are “self-employed” – making up about 3/4 of the U.S.’s total businesses. -Forbes
Innovation. Lots of smaller local businesses ensures competition, competitive prices, innovation and eliminates monopolizing. This helps to keep the cost of products low and variety high. Diversity is more pronounced in local businesses, and it’s a huge misconception that buying local means you’re paying higher prices.
Character and Integrity. Encouraging and supporting local businesses brings character to your community. With each individual and unique business aiming to maintain integrity with its customers by providing outstanding customer service. (Haven’t we all had that experience with the large chain store that just didn’t care about us as customers?)
Next time you’re on your way to some multi-million dollar, big-box chain store, consider going local for that cup of coffee or roll-off dumpster and container instead. Go somewhere that we as individuals and customers matter. We all want to feel appreciated as customers. Is there anything more important than that?