If you’re out shopping in your local community, odds are good you’re heard about the importance of shopping local.
Keep your dollars local!
You’ve likely heard some variation of all of those slogans or sayings and you probably do a good job of shopping local. That might include shopping at a local grocer, visiting a local coffee shop, or having your kids play on a local sports team.
But even if you do a good job of shopping local, have you ever thought about why it’s important? Have you ever thought about where your money goes after you spend it or what it’s used for. Businesses, like many of your town’s Mom and Pop shops with fewer than 500 employees, make up more than 99% of the jobs in the U.S. and buying local is important for the survival of those small shops. Not only is it important, but there are many benefits to buying local:
Helping The Economy
The biggest thing to remember about the importance of shopping local is that when you buy local, the money stays local. Let’s say you’re an avid golfer and you frequently visit your local golf courses to play with a group of friends. When you spend your money at one of the local courses, it goes toward paying for upkeep of the course, paying employees, helping to upkeep the pro shop, and the restaurant inside.
Without your patronage, businesses like those golf courses might not be able to offer some basic amenities and rates might go up as a result, or some amenities may be eliminated altogether. By spending your money there, you’re helping a local business prosper, becoming more connected to your town and helping to create jobs.
Supporting Your Neighbors
By keeping your money in the local economy, you’re not only helping businesses, you’re also helping folks in your town. Let’s say for instance you have a neighbor who’s a dentist in your town. If you’re friendly with that neighbor, you’re able to develop a rapport with that neighbor and you’ll have no trouble visiting them for your dentistry needs.
If you need a reminder about the importance of shopping local, look no further than your medical professionals. It’s not only practical to get established with local professionals, but it’s also easy to establish trust and a high level of comfort with them. Think about it, do you want to go to the best orthodontist in town who lives down the street from you and knows your family? Or do you want to go out of town to see someone who you don’t have quite the same relationship with?
When you can establish a rapport and feel comfortable with your fellow townspeople, it makes it much easier to shop local. If your car needs fixing and your neighbor is a mechanic, you’ll have no problem taking the car to them for repairs. If you know where local food is grown and harvested, you’ll eagerly support local farmers at a farmer’s market. By buying local, you help families, help them pay their bills, and help keep their business going.
There are plenty of good reasons to buy local, but one of the best reasons is that you get faster and better service. This is especially true when it comes to repairs.
In the dog days of summer, it’s important to have functioning air conditioning to keep yourself cool. If you’re in need of heating and air conditioning installations, you’re obviously going to want someone who can do the job well. By staying local, you can easily find a place that’s close, so you’ll be able to get an air conditioner installed in a few days rather than a few weeks.
You’ll also be able to get plenty of good recommendations from friends and neighbors. If you notice your neighbor has a certain kind of air conditioner that you want, they can recommend a local place so you get the exact same one. Not only will you be getting a good product, but you’ll be getting excellent service.
The importance of shopping local can’t be understated. It does a great deal to help your community, but it also helps you establish rapport.
Think about your usual shopping habits. Do you go to the farmer’s market for specific items? Do you have a market that sells a particular product you like, such as meat? If you frequent these places a lot and give them your business, those employees will come to recognize you and establish a relationship. Why is that important? When you go for fruits and vegetables or meat, they might set some aside for you if they know you’re coming in. They might also offer you some deals or discounts if you’re a frequent customer. By patronizing their business and being generous, they might be more than willing to be generous right back.
Pumping money into your community can stimulate the local economy, but it can also help you save money.
Let’s say you need to repair roof leaks after a harsh winter. You can shop around and get estimates for what the repairs might cost, but you likely won’t find better deals than at your local shops. Your local shops will offer better, faster service and won’t try to load you up with extra fees.
By supporting and trusting local businesses, they will in turn trust you to spend your money with them if you need any help in the future. In this way, one good turn deserves another. If you keep your money local, local contractors will be willing to work with you when it comes to getting the most for your money. If you’re on a budget, they’ll suggest ways you can get the repairs or renovations you need at a price you can afford. If you’re footing a particularly large bill, those businesses will work with you on payments, especially if they know your character.
The importance of shopping local is about more than spending money; it’s about supporting your friends and neighbors because you know you’re going to get quality products and services. If you need your pet groomed, for example, you can take it to a local groomer armed with the knowledge that they will do a good job. If you’re looking to have some work done on your house, such as a home addition, you can check up on the quality of local renovation companies by checking out other homes in your area.
That quality might also extend to something as important as rodent and squirrel removal from your home. Local exterminators will know exactly how prevalent certain critters are in your area and the best methods for removing them, all while offering fair estimates and excellent customer service.
While the importance of shopping local can’t be understated, neither can having a good level of comfort as a buyer. Simply put, when you buy something, you want to feel good about the product or service you bought and you want to feel confident you’re not getting swindled.
Comfort as a consumer can range from buying food to having medical procedures performed. If you live in a small town, odds are good you have one or two doctors in town, who have taken care of everyone you know. With that degree of experience (and referrals from friends and neighbors), you know you’ll be in good hands whether you need a simple operation or an advanced procedure. So you won’t ever have to worry about a problem such as medical malpractice because you’ll always be in good hands.
Looking Out For You
Another benefit of staying local with your money is that your friends and neighbors will have your best interests in mind. That means they’ll also be looking out for your family. If you’re looking for the best dentist for kids for example, your local dentist is likely someone you know. That means they’ll be willing to take the time to show your child or children that the dentist office is a friendly place and about the importance of taking care of your teeth.
Helping Your Community On A Human Level
If you need a reminder about the importance of shopping local, think about the human impact of your money rather than just the financial impact. Let’s say you need a fence put up around your ride or maybe a fence repair to mend some broken posts or backer rails. When you hire a local contractor, yes you’re giving them your business and keeping your money in the local economy.
But your money makes more of an impact than that. You may not know it, but your money goes toward more than just that company’s bills. When you spend your money locally, your money might go toward dance lessons or new braces or sports equipment or it might help to sponsor a local school club’s trip. You can’t make that same sort of impact when you shop at big box stores or chains. By spending your money locally, you’re making a human investment that may well impact more than just the place you’re doing business with.
Another advantage of shopping local is that you have fairly easy access to goods and services when you need help. If you have an issue with your home surveillance system and security cameras, for example, you can easily visit a local shop and have the company help you quickly. The same is true if you have problems with your air conditioning or plumbing or need help renovating. You won’t get that kind of access from out-of-town companies and you can be assured you’ll get fantastic customer service when you buy local.
Getting To Know Your Town
You hear all the time about the importance of shopping local, but you should consider doing it for no other reason it helps you get to know your town. If you’re new in town, this is a great way to get to know your surroundings.
By shopping local and shopping around, you never know what you might find. You might find an amazing local artist, who’s work you can buy and hang in your new house. You might find one of the best sandwiches you’ve ever eaten at a local restaurant. You might find a great bar with amazing drinks and live music that you can make one of your favorite haunts.
By shopping around, you’ll learn more about the importance of shopping local and you’ll get to know folks in your town. You’ll get to know your local coffee shop purveyors, who can make your coffee just the way you like it. You’ll get to know your local law enforcement and first responders, who can help you in times of emergency. You’ll get to know local artists, who can do commission paintings. You’ll meet the folks who run community organizations, so you’ll know who to talk to if you want to volunteer.
Making An Impact
It doesn’t matter if you’re buying from a farmer’s market or buying from a local grocer or enlisting the help of a local concept design engineering company to help you develop designs for a product. By keeping your money in your local economy, your supporting your community, helping your friends and neighbors, getting quality goods and services and getting a level of customer service you won’t find anywhere else.
So next time you see the signs about the importance of shopping local or buying local, consider how much good you can do with your money. You’re helping your friends and neighbors on a business level, but you’re also helping them on a human level that’s more important than money. By spending money locally, you’re helping your community thrive, whether you’re buying coffee, playing nine on a local golf course or eating at a local restaurant.