Recently, when reading a local a paper or magazine, it seems that there is at least one article about a beloved local business that has closed it's doors. Every time I hear about the unfortunate loss of a local store or business closing, I get a little sick to my stomach. To the person who owned the business, more than likely it was their life's dream that has fallen victim to the economy. They vested their heart and soul, emotional well-being, and all their financial resources into that dream. And in part, the community just lost a friend along with some of it's charm.
Besides having the the experience of shopping in a store that's either unique and quirky, and in a lot of instances both, there are real benefits to shopping local. According to the The 3/50 Project, for every $100 you spend at a locally owned store, $68 goes back into the community (whether it's through payroll, taxes or donations) If you shop at a chain it drops to about $43. If you shop online, nothing is passed back into the community.
Locally owned businesses are more likely to contribute to local charities, fundraisers and community events. If your child participates in intramural sports, chances are the team on which your child plays is sponsored by a locally owned business. Now that I think about it I've never seen Abercrombie & Fitch or Gap on the back of a little league tee-shirt.
Locally owned businesses are tailored to blend with the uniqueness of the neighborhood or community. We know our customers and we purchase product based on what they want - not what "Corporate America" dictates. In fact, we spend most of our time thinking about what our customers want and what would make them happy. Can you say that about most chain stores?
So the next time you make a purchase, why don't you stop by a local store first. In the end, we all win.