As the holiday season approaches, that usually means it’s time to hit the stores or internet in search of the perfect gifts for your friends and loved ones. But what if that perfect gift can’t be found on the vast reaches of the online world or national chain stores? What if that unique gift came right from your very own town? Maybe shopping locally is just what you need this Christmas, and here’s why.
1. You strengthen your local economy. Money that’s spent in local stores and boutiques stays within the county. According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, if you spend $100 in a locally owned store, $68 stays in the community where as only $43 would stay in the community if you buy from a national chain.
Studies by private research firm Civic Economics also show that for every dollar you spend at an independent business, three times more money is put back in to your local economy than dollars spent at a chain. The money that stays in the community goes towards supporting local schools, police and emergency services and maintaining the roads you travel every day.
2. You help create jobs and opportunities. Not only does shopping local stimulate the economy, it helps bring jobs to your community. Local businesses bring local jobs. By stopping by an independent business for your Christmas shopping needs, you’re directly helping people in your own community. You’re also helping to give back to the many nonprofit organizations in your community when you shop locally. Independent businesses give more to charitable organizations in your community than chain retailers. In fact, the Seattle Good Business Network reports that small businesses donate 250 percent more to nonprofits and community causes than chain stores.
3. You enhance and build your community. Going to a locally run business in your town means you might just run in to some familiar faces. The woman behind the counter might be someone who goes to the same church as you. The teenager stocking the shelves could be your son’s high school friend. That gentleman welcoming you to his store could be your neighbor. When you stop by your local stores, you’re meeting people who live in the same town as you and you’re supporting the talented entrepreneurs in your community when you choose to spend your dollars there. When you hand your cash to the smiling woman behind the counter, you see exactly who you are supporting. Your choice to shop locally helps your community members provide for their families.
4. You’ll find unique and high quality gifts you won’t find anywhere else. With all the local talent and unique passions that fill the community, you’re sure to find those special Christmas gifts you just couldn’t find at big box stores. Maybe you’re looking for some custom made jewelry to surprise your wife this Christmas. Maybe your mother has been hunting for a one-of-a-kind wind chime and the Mom and Pop shop a mile from your house has just the one. You’ll never know what treasures you’ll find when you stop by your local businesses, but you’ll know whatever you do find has been crafted with love. When you buy local, you often buy handmade products made with passion for a more personal touch than anything you find in a chain store.
5. You’ll get great customer service. Locally owned businesses are run by passionate people who care about their customers. They have invested in your community the same way you have invested in them. Passionate business owners know the ins and outs of their products and are always ready to help you make the right decision for all your needs. With a friendly smile they offer up their best advice and treat you as their number one customer. When you choose to do your spending locally, you are supporting you community’s dreamers and their passions – and who knows, you might make some new friends this holiday season.