In today’s difficult business environment, it is even more important that local residents support their homegrown businesses. Local businesses have a special interest in serving their community, and they keep jobs and money in the area. Supporting local businesses can have a positive impact on the economy and on the overall prosperity of the community. Erik Skogquist, a City Council member and community leader from Anoka, Minnesota, explains the 7 reasons why everyone should support local businesses, as well as easy ways that everyone can get involved.
1. Keeping Money in the Community
When you support a local business, your money is more likely to stay within the community. The Small Business Economic Impact from American Express reports that for every $100 spent at a local business, $67 stays within the community.
Independent retailers return three times as much money to the local economy than chain-based businesses. Independent restaurants return over twice as much money than national chains.
2. Local Businesses Support Each Other
When you patronize a local business, you are also supporting its network of suppliers and business partners. Local businesses rely on banks, farms, and other service providers located nearby.
Local businesses build strong ties with one another and with the community. They encourage their customers to invest in community initiatives, and they often give back.
3. Small Businesses are Large Employers
While each small business may only have a few employees, when they are added up they employ a significant fraction of the workforce. Small businesses employ over 60 million Americans, or 47 percent of all employees. In 2019, they accounted for 1.6 million net job gains. Much of these gains were attributed to businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
4. Local Businesses Give Back
Local businesses are far more likely to participate in philanthropy in the community than chain businesses. Businesses are often asked to contribute to community initiatives like children’s sports programs, scouting organizations, and educational initiatives. Local businesses are more likely to volunteer in the community, giving their time and expertise to deserving organizations.
For example, many local businesses have shown interest in helping to feed young schoolchildren during the COVID pandemic while their parents were experiencing job disruptions. In many communities, local businesses stepped up to offer free meals to children and families in need. Businesses of all kinds found ways in which they could help economically distressed people within their communities.
5. Supporting Your Neighbors
Small businesses are likely to be owned by people who live in the community. This means that their success contributes to the overall well-being of your community. Supporting local businesses means that incomes will be higher and the tax base for your community will be greater. There will be more money for local departments and agencies like schools to get their jobs done.
6. Lower Carbon Footprint
Supporting local businesses also has a positive impact on the environment. Local businesses often have a lower carbon footprint than their chain competitors. This is because local businesses are not shipping large amounts of products across the country and because they are more environmentally conscious with their purchasing choices.
7. Strengthening the Local Economy
Local businesses are more likely to contribute to the tax base in your community. By employing local residents, these businesses can help to reduce the unemployment rate and make sure that everyone who wants a job has one.
Ways to Support Local Businesses
Considering these seven benefits of local businesses, many people may want to know how they can make a difference. Patronizing a small business instead of a large chain can have a significant economic impact on the community. It is not always easy to find ways to support a local business, but community members are encouraged to do so.
Here are some easy ways to support local businesses:
- Visit a Local Restaurant for Takeout or Dine-In
- Go to a Local Gift Store for a Birthday Present
- Join an Independent Gym
- Patronize a Local Hardware Store
- Visit an Independent Nursery
- Take Your Car to a Local Mechanic
When you receive good products or services from a local business, it is a great idea to leave a review on Google or Yelp and let people know about your experience.
Local Businesses Have a Large Impact
Large chains may have unfair competitive advantages against local businesses, but the quality of products and services that can be gained from a local business is worth the extra expense. Chains can often set their prices at unreasonably low levels because they are buying in bulk. To encourage local economic growth, shoppers should consider going to independent merchants whenever possible.
Erik Skogquist wants readers to know that every purchase they make can make a difference in a small business’s survival. If people want to have a vibrant local retail scene, they need to make sure that they support existing businesses as well as any new ones that could emerge.
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