TOP 10 Reasons to Shop Locally
— KAY LOCKRIDGE
1. Strengthen the economic base of the community: Significantly more of your money stays in the community when you buy locally, enhancing service providers, farms and other businesses. 2. Support community groups: On average, local nonprofit organizations receive 250 percent more donations from small local business owners than from larger, nationally owned businesses. 3. Keep the community unique: Home is where you regularly shop, eat and have fun. One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of your hometown’s distinctive character — a feature that also benefits tourism. 4. Reduce environmental impacts: Locally owned business often make local purchases that require less transportation. They generally set up shop in the city center as opposed to developing large tracts on the outskirts of town. This strengthens the city and reduces sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution. 5. Create more jobs for locals: Small businesses are the nation’s largest employers, providing the most jobs to residents. 6. Get better service: Local businesses tend to hire people with a better understanding of the products they sell — and a deeper knowledge of local customers’ needs. 7. Invest in the community: Schools, recreational facilities and parks benefit because local business owners usually live in the community they serve. They are more invested in the community’s future and less likely to leave town — even in an economic downturn. 8. Keep more tax money in the community: Local businesses in city centers require less infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services than nationally owned businesses that enter — and leave — the community. 9. Buy what you want, not what someone else wants you to buy: The small business marketplace helps bring innovation and lower prices over the long term. Whereas large chains make product decisions based on a national business plan, small businesses consider the needs of local shoppers. 10. Encourage local prosperity: Entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to settle and invest in communities that respect and preserve one-of-a-kind businesses with distinctive character.