You’ve all heard of this new shop local movement, right?
I mean I always preach about it but that’s because I’m a small business owner. Why should I, as a consumer care?
Well, I wanted to learn more so I spent an afternoon researching. And, I found some answers.
But before I researched, I wanted to come up with some reasons myself. So, here is what I came up with:
- Supporting local businesses, artists, farmers
- More eco-friendly because you aren’t importing goods
- Boosts local economy
- Supporting independent store owners
*to read the original posts, just click on the links above
Before I really get into it. I need to answer this question first: how local is local?
Well, your immediate neighbourhood is a good start. But I get it, your community doesn’t offer everything that you might need. The next best thing is to try to stay in your city. For example, if you live in Scarborough, shop there first, before visiting other areas like North York or Downtown. If you still can’t find it, I would then expand to your neighbouring cities, then your province and then your country. I think that is the extent of shopping local. Even going national is stretching the definition of “local”.
Now, with that out of the way, let’s get into the reasons.
Reason 1: Boosting Local Economy
When you buy something at a local store, you are directly giving your money to them. Typically, the suppliers of small, local businesses are also local, because we understand the pain of being an entrepreneur. To put it into perspective, think of a local restaurant. They most likely will purchase from farms close by because that is cheaper.
Also, business owners are regular people as well. Any profit we make will be going to groceries and shopping at other local stores. This keeps the money within your community. On the other hand, if you are shopping at Walmart, that money goes back to Walmart Canada. While the employers do earn money from them, the majority of the profits made goes to the executives of the company who lives somewhere else and will be spending it there.
According to Futurepreneur.ca, $0.67 of every dollar you spend goes back into your neighbourhood. That’s a lot if you add it all up.
Reason 2: Supporting Your Neighbours
For many small business owners, including myself, opening up our own business helps us continue our passions. But, that’s only if we have customers.
There have been so many times over the last 6 months when I was terrified of not having enough money. When you shop local, you are supporting cardmakers, crafters, painters, shopkeepers, activists, etc. and their livelihoods. You are literally supporting your neighbour’s income. Think about it! I depend on all of you to eat, sleep, go to university and to run Thoughtfully Handmade.
Plus, when we are ready to hire employees, we hire locally. You are supporting even more neighbours, and other neighbours who shop local are helping you!
Also, small businesses often support local charities and organizations. For example, I support Seniors With Skills.
Reason 3: The Environment
Now, this is a big one people! When we buy imported goods, we are also increasing our ecological footprint. To get those frozen Chinese dumplings, they have to be imported from China. Now, that is a long distance for dumplings to travel and a lot of pollution caused by it.
Plus, most local businesses are within a walking distance away from where you live. You are decreasing your own ecological footprint by walking instead of driving when you go shopping.
Reason 4: Investing in Your Community
Most big corporations only care about their bottom line, and they will go wherever they need to to make a profit. For example, so many companies moved their operations overseas because labour is cheaper there. Big companies aren’t incentivized to stay in your neighbourhood.
However, small businesses are because their owners live in your community as well.
Reason 5: More Choices
When you have more small businesses to choose from, we’re incentivized to remain competitive by offering reasonable prices and excellent customer service. To stay competitive, we’re also being creative.
I often think of new card designs that places like Hallmark just doesn’t have. I’ve seen better fashion designs coming from local shops in comparison to the big chains. Often, it’s the small cafes and restaurants who comes up with the newest food trends.
Local businesses will have items unique to them and hard to duplicate. For example, my friend over at Modern Plant Life has unique planters that she creates by hand. If you give that as a gift, no one else will give the same one and you avoid a lot of embarrassment.
Reason 6: Better Customer Service
Don’t you hate it when a company’s customer service team isn’t even located in your country? Looking at you Whirlpool Canada.
But, when you buy locally and frequently, you start getting to know the owners of the shops who are experienced and knowledgeable about what they sell. If you need a personal recommendation, we’ve got you covered because we know YOU. Big, transnational companies don’t.
Reason 7: Creating a Community
Often local businesses will host neighbourhood activities that bring everyone together. When you walk along the streets and see all of the individual stores, there is so much variety and personality injected into the space. It makes you want to live, work and spend time in that neighbourhood.
Now those are the 7 reasons I have found and I agree with them all. But, before I wrap up, I wanted to address online shopping. I’m not saying online shopping is terrible. I do it myself. But, when I shop online, I am conscious of who I am buying from. For example, if I can get something from a local shop, I’ll order it from them instead of Amazon. Or, if I am on Etsy, I choose to shop at Canadian stores only. Plus, shipping is cheaper that way.
What do you think? Let’s start a conversation in the comments below! Also, if you are looking for some Canadian Shops, you should definitely check out Shop Local Canada! They have an amazing directory, including Thoughtfully Handmade.