For decades, society has been fascinated by the concept of the “global village” and the ability for goods and services to be imported and exported internationally. And while there are benefits to global shopping, such as experiencing new cultures and traditions, it’s more important than ever to embrace local shopping and support local businesses in your home country, province, town, and community.
Over the last two years, individual shopping habits have shifted dramatically from brick-and-mortar retail stores to online retailers—for everything from groceries to gifts. And while the availability of items online makes it easy to search for exactly what you’re looking for, there are still plenty of reasons to shop locally.
From environmental concerns to improving your regional economy, consider the following reasons why you should continue supporting local businesses.
Boost Local Economy
One of the most obvious benefits of shopping locally is boosting your local economy. Shopping locally doesn’t just help the individual business succeed. If they also do business with local companies like banks, accounting firms, lawyers, farms, and transportation companies, it benefits those businesses, too. It creates a sort of local "butterfly effect" where numerous small businesses benefit from you shopping at one local company. Supporting local businesses also helps ensure economic vitality in your region and helps to build citizen confidence in the community. This confidence leads to increased investment and prosperity in the area because new related businesses will begin to emerge. This prosperity leads to increased homeownership and new building development—both of which contribute to the economy’s health and the sustainability of those local businesses.
When many of us were growing up, it was common for communities to have several small businesses to support the major necessities of the neighbourhood. In the centre of the community, there would often be a hub that included independent retailers like a mom-and-pop grocery store, a barbershop, a pharmacy, a coffee shop, a stationery store, and so on. New retailers would emerge to meet the community’s growing needs, and the community members would respond by frequenting those businesses. In today’s market, it’s easy to stop by the local big box stores and shopping marts—but those businesses don’t represent the heart and soul of the community or the men and women who took a risk and sacrificed time and money to make their companies successful.
Positive Community Role Models
Supporting local businesses also positively impacts youth by helping them understand the benefits of hard work, determination, and perseverance. It is common for small business owners to hire staff from within the community and support local events such as festivals, sports teams, and after-school programs. Local businesses also play a role in supporting regional charities like food banks and homeless shelters. By shopping at local businesses, you are giving them the financial resources they need to support and provide opportunities to other members of your community.
Reduce Carbon Footprint
Climate change and global warming are currently hot-button issues, and more people than ever are concerned with reducing their carbon footprints. Transporting goods from locations worldwide has had devastating impacts on the environment. From huge shipping barges to tractor-trailers, the accessibility of the global economy has created a supply chain that harms the environment far more than producing and consuming goods locally. Locally-made goods and independent local businesses are good for the environment mainly because of the reduction in transporting those goods to faraway locations—sometimes on the other side of the world. In addition, the manufacturing practices in some countries are well below the environmental standards of western countries and may result in increased air and groundwater pollution.
Enhanced Customer Experience
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that people need human connection. Supporting local businesses is all about fostering those connections. When small business owners take a risk and invest in their community, they strive to give their customers the most positive and memorable experience possible. Those positive experiences build trustworthiness, loyalty, and recurring business. This focus on the customer experience sets local businesses apart from their corporate competitors.
Enjoy Locally-Made Products
Local businesses are invested in their communities. Many of them choose to support other local companies by carrying locally-made items or creating their products using local materials, resources, and ingredients. Just as shopping locally helps boost the regional economy, shopping at stores that carry locally-made goods supports other small businesses and increases entrepreneurship in the area.
Make Your Community Unique
People travel to other cities in search of unique experiences—including purchasing items that they can’t find anywhere else. Those regional specialties are what make visiting new places so fun! Shopping locally and boosting the local economy helps make your community stand out because those businesses may stock items that can’t be found outside of the region. This may also result in people travelling specifically to your area to buy those items—leading to even more economic benefits for your community.
Take Pride in Your Community
Supporting local businesses is an ideal way for you to show your pride in your community. Maybe you live near a First Nations reserve specializing in traditional art and beadwork. Or perhaps you’re close to a unique winery featuring a grape variety grown only in your region. Whatever the business, shopping locally demonstrates to those businesses that you take pride in their work and the products, services, and opportunities they bring to the local community. This pride is shared by those businesses who work to maintain a solid and trustworthy business presence long-term.
With economies feeling the after-effects of the pandemic and restricted shopping orders, many local businesses are struggling to survive. Whether you stop by a local shop or choose locally-made items from an online retailer, you're investing in your community and helping those businesses thrive.
With curated and build-your-own gift boxes featuring locally-made Canadian products, Miller Box Co. allows you to support homegrown businesses while finding the perfect gifts to show someone you care.