We can find almost anything we need on Google, Amazon, eBay, or Etsy. But why? What might inspire us to create better conditions for local specialty stores and to create a counterpart to large retail chains and online stores? The answer is, of course, to improve our small town. Shopping locally is an important part of keeping our main street and core vibrant, full, and alive.
Even global brands like American Express understand the importance of “shopping small.”
In an effort to support the local shops that make our communities strong, American Express launched Small Business Saturday in 2010. The day set aside is the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The purpose is to encourage people to Shop Small and to bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.
“You might not realize it, but every time you pick up a cup of coffee from your favorite neighborhood cafe or buy a gift from a local artist’s online store, you’re shopping small and making a difference.” Amex
In 2011, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution in support of the day, and officials in all 50 states participated. In Centerville, it’s less of a movement and more of a way of life. But, we can do more. That’s where the Centerville Chamber of Commerce steps in.
Where You Live is Where You Shop the Best
Best Buy – nearby! Search global – shop local. Everyone has heard the slogans, but what do they really mean for local businesses and you? When you shop where you live, the benefits are manifold:
- You can buy something really special that is only available locally.
- You help the environment because you walk or drive less.
- You can try things on and take them with you. No waiting!
- You know where products come from and maybe even who made it.
- Maybe even more importantly, you’ll know whose families you’re helping.
“For small businesses, it’s about more than a financial investment. It’s a sign that you’re here for them, that you care about them, and you believe they have a future and they will survive … And these are not just faceless entities. These are real people behind these stores.” Good Housekeeping
Put Your Dollars To Work in Your City
There are many reasons why shopping locally helps not only the business in which you shop but the entire city. Aside from stimulating your local economy and helping the environment, the benefits are often not immediately visible.
- Nonprofits receive greater support.
- Local businesses improve their character.
- More local jobs for local people.
- Better customer service.
- More investment in the community by local businesses.
Most importantly you, the consumer, matter more. How? Your values and support matter to local businesses more than to those big box stores. It’s your town. It’s your money.
“It’s easy to shop locally. From the foods you consume, the products & services you purchase to the banks you use all have locally-owned alternatives. You can make a difference and help sustain our local community by choosing to patronize a locally-owned business whenever possible.” Shop Local Communities
Sustainability and Responsibility are Different Things
Still not convinced about local shopping over online shopping? It’s true that online shopping is actually more environmentally friendly than shopping downtown. But only if we act responsibly. What do we mean by that?
- The customer only orders what they actually need.
- The customer keeps the products they have ordered.
- The delivery is made without “special requests.”
- The package is accepted on the first delivery.
The reality of online shopping often looks different and is not always so simple. Parcels should preferably be there overnight, often have to be delivered several times, and are returned because the contents were ordered: “just for fun.”
If customers try on the items locally in the store and leave them hanging there, perhaps to find them cheaper online, this is also not only unfair to the brick-and-mortar retailers but also increases an impact on the environment.
“We may not all be ready to be minimalists and pare our wardrobes down. We may not be able to give up eating meat, driving to work, or wearing cashmere, but we can tweak these habits to make them better for the planet.” Business Insider
Your Chamber of Commerce is All About Local Business
Local businesses and local people are what the Centerville Chamber of Commerce is all about. Small businesses link together to form an important supply-chain connecting not only our town but towns that surround us. We are only as strong as the weakest link in that chain, which is why we need to think local and shop local.