If you’re from a small town, chances are you’ve seen signs in the windows of local businesses encouraging passersby to shop locally. Many local restaurants promote the use of local ingredients, and some towns even participate in events like Shop Local Saturday or Small Business Saturday. Is shopping local really that important, or are local business just trying to compete with chain retailers?
I have long-wondered how some smaller towns have a seemingly booming local economy without the need for chain stores and restaurants on every corner. Are people here just wealthy enough to pay more for food/clothing/merchandise/services that they can skip the chain retailers and shop local boutiques, markets, and service providers? It wasn’t until recently that I learned more about the ways shopping local benefits all of us, not just local business owners.
Although there are many benefits to shopping local, here are 5 great reasons to make the switch:
1. It creates jobs.
The more job opportunities local residents have, the greater tax revenue is generated and allocated towards projects designed to improve local communities (i.e. police/fire/EMT presence and improving roadways/parks/community centers).
2. More money is reinvested in the local economy.
No one understands the power of shopping locally more than local business owners, who are much more likely to reinvest in other small businesses. For example, a local boutique owner is more likely to hire a local web designer and printing company than a chain store who has centralized buying, usually directed out of its national headquarters. In addition, local business owners are also more likely to reinvest in community events, such as markets, fairs, and school functions.
3. You’ll receive better customer service.
Because local business owners are dependent upon their local patrons to sustain their business’ financial future, you generally receive greater customer service when shopping with a local business. In addition, local businesses often have greater product or service expertise, especially considering products or services that are location-specific (i.e. landscaping, accounting, real estate, etc.).
4. It helps preserve local history.
If you’ve ever walked into a long-standing local business, chances are you’ll feel like you stepped back in time. Many long-standing business owners have weathered changes in the community, good and bad, and have countless stories to tell. Many local businesses are run by newer generations of the originally owners, and many strive to preserve the history and business principles of their predecessors.
5. It creates a sense of community.
Big things can happen when a community comes together. Some of the most heartwarming stories that find their way into the news amidst reports of violence and struggle are those of small communities coming together to support a cause. This might be supporting a local community member or rallying to change zoning ordinances to save a small business. Just last week, my local community hosted a Fall Festival and invited the entire town. Many small business owners contributed to the cause and helped grow community pride, which in turn encouraged others to want to get involved in local projects.
To be brutally honest, I do not always shop local and many of us don’t always have access to a local retailer for everything. Have I been known to skip the local boutique sale and drive to the mall for a cheaper alternative? Sure. Do I pick our Date Night restaurant based on who uses locally-grown ingredients? Not usually. Is price usually the biggest factor when deciding which service company to use. Often.
But as a new small business owner myself, I am learning how far the value shopping locally extends within an entire community. I am able to see projects initiated and come to fruition thanks to community businesses and members who come together to support one another. So even if you can't always shop locally, commit to finding local businesses you can support. Soon, you’ll start to see the return on your investment all around you.
Another great way to support local small businesses is to attend our Girls Night Out events, where you can directly connect with and support local businesses, local charities, and other local women.
RSVP today for November’s Girls Night Out Event on Thursday, November 3rd from 5:30-8:30P at Carolina Ale House off Kingston Pike!
Hey y'all I'm Jennifer and I"ll be hosting Girls Nights Out, daytime meet-ups and other exciting events for Housewives in the City here in K-Town! Although I was born in Bristol, TN, my dad's job had us living in 11 states within 7 years! We bounced around as far north as Pennsylvania and as far south as Alabama before relocating to Knoxville in 1989. I tried moving away when my husband's job took us up north but nope, it just didn't stick- back to Knoxville I came and here I will stay! I have 3 fantastic kiddos and I have been known to enjoy bacon...on my bacon! Now, as far as Knoxville goes, you probably know that A) Around here football season is a 5th season- Go Vols! B) We take being "Scruffy" very seriously and C) It is a town full of amazing people-especially the ladies! So come on out to one of our events, meet some amazing women, have a great time and be sure to say "Hey Jen!"