The one thing I ask of my friends, family, and clients at the end of the year: Please Shop Local when you can. The Job You Save May Be Your Own. The Business You Save May Be Your Neighbor’s! Most people do not have a clue to how important that small business is to your neighborhood. The jobs it provides inside the business as well as outside the business, the tax base it supports and the benefits it brings to your neighborhood and community. Once it’s gone, it’s gone and you will wonder if it was worth ignoring in order to save $2.50 shopping at Amazon.
The amazing thing is that is really is easy to shop local this season and all year long. Here are three easy ways to shop local and support your neighborhood business owner.
- Notice the Small Business Owner. It’s that simple. The next time you are at the grocery store, look around the mall. See all the other businesses? Franchises, as well as mom and pop shops contribute to sustaining your local community as much (if not more than) the big box stores do. Take a few minutes and check them out.
- Shop Locally Online. Now I bet you never thought you could shop online while supporting your small, local businesses! But you can. You probably know a friend, a client or a neighbor that has a website. Or they have an Etsy store or an eBay shop. Working from home either part time or full time, they make sales and they spend some of that money supporting the local community too. So shop their stores online. Drop them a comment and tell them you are a local and that you are buying from them. They would appreciate the words of encouragement.
Even if it’s just a small blog that only has a few affiliate links on it, I ‘m betting it’s like this one, it has an Amazon link or button on it. You’re going to buy from Amazon anyway, why not let your neighbor have a piece of the action?? It doesn’t cost you anything to help them out (Hint: My Link)
- Pay It Forward. I realize we are all trying to save a buck when we can. But at what cost to the future of our shopping experience?? Save Now, Pay Later?? So the lens you want costs $350 at the local camera store. But Amazon has it for $315. In the big picture of things, was it really worth saving $40 to lose that local resource? The one place you can go to when the online store can’t or won’t help you? That one place you can walk into and they will answer your questions, give you advice and not push a sale on you? That one store yu can quickly run into and grab what you need NOW?? They could be one or two sales away from calling it quits and closing their doors. Was it worth losing THAT place in order to save 10%?
Now I am not asking you to patronize the local merchants just because they are local merchants. Like any good business, they do need to earn your business and many of the will work very hard to do just that. If you give them a chance.
One of the great things about shopping a local small business is the opportunity to meet and talk with the owner, or at least a vested manager who has some skin in the game. Where you can ask them about the business. Give them ideas, feedback and maybe suggest new items to carry or a new service you think they could provide and you would want or need. If you are thinking of it, so are others.
Shopping small business can also offer a uniqueness to your shopping experience. You may find new and unique item there that the big box stores won’t or can’t carry. Hand-made items, creative manipulated creations from a more popular item. Services that can be tailored to your specific need or gift giving requirement. Smaller businesses are able to move, change and adapt to the changing local market and provide quicker, better service with that local change. Not everyone loves Moonpies!
I include franchises in this list because many of them are owned and operated by people in your neighborhood who invested their money and their future in the business and live in your community. Most of the money they make stays in your community. They provide jobs, buy other local services (that create other local jobs) and support community projects they may also be personally involved in.
So there you have. My rant for the day. If You Can Shop Local, I ask that You Do. You May Never Know What Life You Changed By Doing So!
And don’t forget how blessed you are to be living in a land of opportunity. Give a little back to those less fortunate than You. Please donate some time, talent or resources to a local charity this year! Ok??