The Big Impact of Shopping Small
People often ask us what we mean when we say that buying from locally-owned businesses helps the community, so we decided to dedicate this post to showing all the amazing benefits of spending your dollars on independently made goods. Purchasing products that are made by people in your community just feels good, but it also helps support the local economy on both a micro and macro level and has other benefits that might not be obvious at first glance. Here are some of the benefits of shopping local:
1. Keep money in the local economy
When you purchase from a local business, that business pays local taxes that get spent on services and infrastructure that will benefit you and the community. That's everything from our public schools and police safety patrols to highway improvements and local parks! When you buy local, a lot more of the money you spend stays in the community. One Chicago study found that for every “independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales [to the local economy] than chain competitors.”
Local business owners you spend with also have an incentive to spend their money with other neighborhood businesses to get their services and supplies for things such as printers, couriers, manufacturers, accountants, etc. The cycle is continuous! Chain businesses, on the other hand, tend to purchase from larger suppliers and are less invested in buying local.
2. Help small, local businesses grow
When small businesses grow, they need help! The more people buy from a small business, the more they have to produce of their products. As they scale, they will have to invest in hiring employees to support their growth. In this way, buying local helps create jobs in the local community.
3. Know the people behind the products you buy
At Unique Markets, you meet the person behind the product that you’re buying. You hear their story and how the product was made, and all of a sudden that product holds more importance and character than a product you bought online that says “made in China.” When you personally know the people behind the local business where you’re buying products and services, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. You also become invested in the success of that person and if you like their product, you want other people to know about it too!
4. Be a more conscious consumer
Shopping locally reduces your environmental footprint in a few different ways. First, when you purchase directly from the producer, you’re cutting out the energy and shipping waste that is required to transport products from places like China and Indonesia where a lot of mass produced products are made. With the increasing popularity of Amazon and online shopping, shipping waste has become a HUGE issue. And when you buy a well-crafted product and you know the person who created it, you are more likely to cherish and hold on to it than you are to discard it like we tend to do with mass-produced items that we know just aren’t special.
5. Make shopping a more meaningful experience
In the age of smartphones, online shopping and constant screen time, genuine face-to-face interactions and true community experiences are becoming more and more rare. At local shopping events like Unique Markets, you get to enjoy the experience of shopping and find out about the quality of the products from the people who created them. And most importantly, you know where your dollar is going and whose lives you’re impacting which is way more meaningful than placing an order on Amazon.
So while you may spend a few more dollars on things produced by local businesses, you can be confident that buying those products is indeed making a positive impact in so many ways that you can feel good about! Yay!