4 DAYS to go until Opening Day!
Let’s talk about shopping locally – not just for food at a farmers market, but for all (or nearly all) your daily needs. Can this be done? Should it be done? Well, for one thing it will depend highly on your definition of “local”. It is also dependent on what your local merchants have to offer. Often times, when we need something, the first thing that comes to mind is a trip to a Big Box store. But if you stop and think, is it possible that that thing you need is available locally at a small (usually owner-operated) business? When you spend money close to home, the money spent at those local businesses is reinvested in your community creating diversity and helping the local community to maintain or create its unique appeal.
Here are the TOP TEN reasons why shopping locally is so important*:
10. Shopping local creates jobs. Shops in town create local employment and self-employment. These people in turn spend in the local community. This is the key to strengthening a local economy.
9. Local independent shops invest more in our communities. Local businesses are proportionally more generous in their support of local charities, schools and community events. Supporting local shops means a financial impact on your community.
8. Local shops sell a wide range of great products at affordable prices. Many people fall out of the habit of shopping locally and are then surprised by the range of products and gifts available.
7. Shopping local saves you money. Big Box Stores have done a good job of convincing us that local business equals expensive. If you add travel, fees to transfer items and your time, as well as buying all those other things you didn’t need but were somehow marketed to you at the Big Box Store, the overall cost is often much higher.
6. Shopping local retains our communities. People don’t like losing shops and services in small towns (vacant stores are never something we want to see) yet they don’t equate this to how they spend their money.
5. Shopping local retains our distinctiveness. Independent shops create distinctive shopping experiences and stock different (often unique/handmade/one-of-a-kind) products than Big Box Stores. Local businesses respond quickly to the needs of local customers, stocking products to meet the changing population needs.
4. Shopping local saves the environment. Local shops often stock a high percentage of locally sourced goods which do not require long car and bus journeys, helping reduce our global footprint.
3. Local shops are for everyone. Most people can get to their local shops easily and this is especially important for the elderly and young generations and those without transportation.
2. Local shops value you more. Evidence from numerous surveys show people receive better customer care and service locally. These businesses survive by their reputation and repeat business, which means you get a higher standard of service.
and the Number 1 reason to shop local…
Shopping local saves services. Private and public sector services tend to cluster around shops. As shops disappear so do hairdressers, banks, restaurants, etc.
If you stop in to speak with any of our local merchants in the Swarthmore Town Center, they will reiterate each of these ten reasons, and more, about why it’s so important to support independent shops. When visiting the Swarthmore Farmers Market, please make an effort to stop in and chat with our communities’ business owners and make a purchase, I promise you you will be glad you did. SHOP SMART. SHOP LOCAL.
Check back tomorrow for our continuing series of Top Ten Countdowns.
*sourced from various Chamber of Commerce Buy Local Initiatives as well as my own local shopping experiences.