There is just something different about shopping local. Something that makes a stop at your local coffee shop different from a trip to the nearest chain. Something that makes a farmer’s market feel more satisfying than a grocery store.
And these feelings aren’t unique to your community. Over the past two decades, grassroots efforts by independent business owners have grown from a “Buy Local” pilot in Boulder, Colorado, to a “Localization Movement” with approximately 150,000 member businesses and advocates supporting local entrepreneurs nationwide.
These supporters are onto something. Buying local IS different. In fact, shopping local has a myriad of benefits – to you, to your community, and to the planet.
Here are 5 reasons to choose local.
Your Money Stays Close to Home
When you shop local, the money stays local – reinvesting in the community and staying close to home. When you support locally owned businesses, nearly half (48%) of your purchase price is recirculated in the local economy, versus less than 14% when you shop at chain stores. That’s nearly three times the economic return for every dollar you spend at a local business.
They make for unique and prosperous communities
Research shows that communities with a high-density of locally-owned businesses see greater income growth than communities with larger firms or absentee owners. Local businesses keep taxes lower since they generate more tax revenue per sale and create less strain on public works like roads and sewers than the big guys.
In addition to supporting local economic growth, local businesses are more likely to participate in community decisions and advocate for needed public services. They contribute to local flavors and identities, and they serve as local hubs and meeting places. Local businesses contribute to a unique identity that can make your community more attractive and distinctive.
Better for the Environment
Local businesses tend to take up less land, be more centrally located to encourage biking or walking, and are more likely to carry locally sourced products, which means fewer miles and fuel spent on each item you buy. All of this adds up to less pollution, cleaner air, and an overall healthier planet.
Local Owners Give Back
Who sponsors the Booster Club for your local high school sports team? More often than not, it’s the mom-and-pop shop up the street. Local owners give back to the community they serve, both in terms of charitable contributions as well as in-kind donations.
It Just Feels Good
Shopping locally just feels better. The store attendant gives smiles and compliments freely. He or she might even know your name. The product you purchase has greater character and you can tell your friends, with pride, where you got it from. The dollar you spend has a multiplier effect, not only on the economy and environment, but also potentially on your own happiness. The buy local movement is seeing continued success because it is the right thing to do and it fills us with a satisfaction you simply don’t get from big box stores.