Where do you do most of your shopping? Why should we support local businesses? What makes them so powerful that it will change our outlook on big companies for the better? Take a look for yourself.
Let's take consumers away from large, impersonal big-box retailers and introduce them to the people doing business in their very own cities & towns. There are many local farmers, craftsmen, boutiques, antiques dealers, and other product providers, with items made locally and sold on a small scale.
When consumers supports their local business owners, they enjoy benefits that they can’t possibly get from shopping at national chains. Here are some top reasons to support your local entrepreneurs & small businesses this holiday season...
Going out on your own in the world is a hard thing no matter what you’re doing. Now imagine doing that in this dog-eat-dog corporate world. Small business owners often have had their work cut out for them every turn for years. So, it’s a hard task they take on every single day and they do it to offer the public alternative options that are going to make a difference in the lives of consumers like us.
So why should we support our local small business owners?
It shows you care about your local community
The number one perk to consider, for obvious reasons, is that supporting local means that you care about the community that you live in. You’ll be able to put money back into your community and the other people who call it home, too. It’ll give your local economy a chance to thrive, too.
Local business owners often have incentive to support other local businesses, patronizing local establishments for both business and personal reasons. Chain businesses, on the other hand, tend to get their supplies from corporate, as well as having store managers and employees that aren’t as personally invested in buying local.
It shows respect to the business owners
Local business owners don’t have the funds to go big or go home, so when you buy local you are going to be respecting that they are getting out there everyday and trying their best to make an honest living even against all of the competition out there. There is a lot to be said for that. Shopping with a local business — regular shopping, that is — shows them the respect that you have for them and their attempts at doing things the right way.
When you personally know the people behind the business where you’re buying local products and services, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Along with the rest of the community, you celebrate when a favourite local business succeeds and you mourn when it’s forced to shut its doors. This personal investment isn’t quite as present when a chain business closes, aside from feeling disappointment that you have fewer businesses within convenient driving distance.
You’re helping bring character to the commercial world
The commercial world is full of companies that all offer basically identical options. It’s hard to find anything that is entirely unique anymore. When you drive across country, and all you see is the same scene… same brand, same big box stores, same products on the shelves. Very disappointing, isn’t it?
However, when you are going off the beaten track and looking at local options, you’ll find that you will be able to get that character that you want and need for a gift or just something special for yourself and your home.
Buying local foods also has health benefits... when you buy from local farmers, you have access to fruits and vegetables that you know are chemical free, as well as grass-fed meats, fresh eggs, and dairy from cows that feast on local green grass each day. Don't forget the raw local honeys too!
You’ll get unique products
Unlike big corporations, shopping local is going to offer you unique products that will be as incredible as you think they will. You’ll find unique twists on traditional possessions, or entirely unique ideas that create products that you never even knew you needed before you saw them in that shop. There are lots of local makers who bring their personal experiences, skills, and creativity to their products. Take the time to go to a local market event sometime and you’ll find out how these local people bring the soul to their products. And believe me, it might just make your day.
Buying local has benefits beyond mere convenience. When you support local business owners, you get a better level of service, as well as helping make your community a better place to live. This is in addition to the health benefits and access to unique products that you usually can’t find with chain locations.
They always want the best final result, not your money
There’s no secret about it, a big company is going to be all about the money. They only care about making a final profit so they can get richer and pay their shareholders a fat return on their investment. Not to mention that lots of them provide lower quality products that are less fresh and full of trashy ingredients. A local company is more than that. They’ll guarantee you a product that is the real deal. A reliable purchase that will promise you quality and a fresh twist on something that you saw by a big brand elsewhere. Sure, you’ll maybe pay a bit more for it, but the money is going to go back into the business to give it the ability to succeed in the future as well as keep the money flowing in the local ecosystem.
Other ways to support local businesses
When it comes to supporting a local business, you can do a lot of good even if you don’t want to shop there for whatever reason. Follow them on social media and make sure you share their deals or sales or announcements so that you can network and help them get a wider net for people who will be interested in shopping there.
There is fun and practical purpose to shopping local. So when you have the chance to choose between the local business and a big superstore, go with local option for the reasons that we’ve talked about and you’ll see soon enough that it is going to be the right choice for you and your community’s future.
Here are a few of my local faves...
Good Omen - New Westminster: herbal remedies, home good, natural healthcare etc
Hop On Farms - Burnaby local farm market off Marine Drive (I've been going here since I was a kid)
Much&Little - Main St (great selection of women's clothing & gifts)
Portobello West - Yaletown Artisan's Craft Market!
Honeybee Centre - Cloverdale: try the cinnamon honey, please!
Mindful Mutts - New Westminster: fear free & low stress handling group dog daycare (I'm a little biased with this one)... the next one too!
Mountaincity Mutts - Vancouver: train, play & stay... I cannot say enough good things about the owner Tonianne Willier!