The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on every person in one way or another over the last year. Some have experienced the virus first hand, most have at least one family member or friend that has been touched by the virus, and all of us have had to adjust to a new way of life in an effort to help lessen the spread of the virus as much as possible including wearing masks in public and maintaining social distance.
Another side effect of the pandemic has been the significant increase in online shopping compared to the pre-pandemic world. According to Forbes.com, 62% of US shoppers say they shop more online now than they did before the pandemic. This shift to online has had a huge impact on the small, locally owned businesses, who have had to adjust how they operate and do business in order to stay afloat during this tough economic environment.
While it may seem attractive to many consumers to look to spend their money at the large online retailers or big-box stores due to the convenience or potential cost savings they may offer, there are significant advantages in choosing to “shop local.” Here are just a few of the top reasons why supporting local businesses is in turn good for your community:
- Local Businesses Support Other Local Businesses
- Local businesses are more likely to utilize other local businesses within the community such as banks, service providers, and other retailers while the larger retail chains typically have national contracts with other large chains and are less likely to utilize the local businesses that are in the surrounding areas of their stores. Conversely, online retailers typically have no use for any local businesses as they have no brick-or-mortar locations within the community.
- Your Money Stays In the Community
- For every $100 spent in locally owned independent businesses, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes home.
- Local Businesses are Owned & Operated By Your Neighbors
- Local businesses employ your neighbors and people that live within the community. Therefore, they care about and are invested in the well-being of your community and its future success and are going to be more invested in providing you with good customer service.
- Environmental Impact of Small Businesses is Significantly Lower
- Small businesses typically have a much smaller carbon footprint than the larger national chains.
- Local Businesses Invest in the Community
- Because local businesses are owned and operated by people who live in the community, they are much more willing to give back to the community by supporting the local chambers of commerce, donating money to the local non-profit organizations, and in many cases volunteering to help improve the success of the community.
It isn’t always the easiest, cheapest, or most convenient option to shop at a local independent business rather than a large national chain or online retailer; however, the long term impact your purchases have on the community when shopping small is so important. So the next time you need to do a little shopping, think small and seek out a local business. You could discover great products and services while helping to strengthen the community around you!