It’s a decision that you’re probably faced with on an almost daily basis: Should you buy your goods from a “big box” store, or from a smaller local business. There are grassroots movements all over the country urging people to “buy local,” and some recent studies have provided some surprising results, showing that the positive economic impact of buying local is even bigger than what was once believed.
These economic benefits take many different forms, so today we’ll be focusing on three of the largest.
Immediate Economic Impact
When you buy local, you’re not only supporting the people who own the company where you shop. Local companies are much more likely to do businesses with other local companies as their vendors, so your support of one company will ripple through to many others as well – strengthening your community’s economic base and improving the job growth rate.
Rejuvenating the Community
One-of-a-kind businesses give a distinct feel to the area, and can generate buzz which attracts tourism. Attracting visitors can only help increase the local economy, and this draw certainly isn’t created by chain stores which are found in cities across the country.
Looking beyond financial benefits, local businesses also tend to have much smaller environmental impacts than their big box competitors. Since locally-owned businesses are more likely to also “buy local” for their own business supply needs, these vendors are required to transport across much smaller distances to their destinations which cuts down on emissions.
Locally-owned businesses also have a stronger connection to their community, and on average they contribute 250% more to local non-profits and charitable organizations than big, corporate businesses in the same community.
Investing for the Future
A business with strong ties to a community will tend to hire their employees from that community, rather than seeking to outsource those jobs overseas. This leads to higher local job growth but also to an employee base who is proud of their product or service, which is an attitude that can “bleed” into other small businesses in the area. A strong community of small locally-owned businesses can be a much needed boon to a local economy, and sets a solid foundation for the future.