In preparation for our Shop Local Day, we’ve talked to a lot of area merchants. One of the questions we like to ask is why they feel it’s important for consumers to shop locally. A common thread that has weaved its way among our conversations, is that shopping local should be a habit, but to get there, a customer first needs the mindset.
For those who aren’t convinced, here are five reasons to Shop Local between now and our event on April 27 (and while we’re at it, every day after that):
The Buck Stays Here
We know, we know, but we can’t say it enough. When you buy local, you are providing local wages, local services, local taxes and are more connected to local charities. National businesses are more likely to outsource and have more hoops to jump through when it comes to supporting local charities. Also, one daunting stat shows that the United States imports $2.2 trillion in products from over 150 countries. Why can’t we keep those funds here?
Customer service is superb, bar none
You know small businesses have a great rep for customer service when big brands like Starbucks and Barnes & Noble are learning from them. And really, if you buy a wedding present from Target, will they gift wrap it for you? We didn’t think so.
Mother Nature will love you
Transportation by sea and by air cause significant damage to our atmosphere according to this infographic from ELocal.com. Each year, shipments by sea omit one billion metric tons of carbon monoxide and burn off 11 billion gallons of fuel. Also, the United States produces 11.9 million tons of plastic packaging, 90 percent of which ends up in a landfill after just one use.
Sense of community: Priceless
When you walk into a big box retailer, all they see is another customer. When you walk into a local business, you’re walking into your neighbor’s living room. One of our participating retailers, M&M Building Supply in Mathews, has a collection of chairs and stools haphazardly set around an aisle cap. On any given morning, you’ll find Grady making crab pots as others gather with their morning cup o’ Joe.
Continuing a time-honored tradition
Locally owned businesses have been around since man started living in communities. Local communities can thrive with successful local businesses, but it takes community support to keep them alive.