There are so many great reasons to shop with locally owned independent businesses. Here’s 11 of the best from Anthea Madill of Remix Plastic.
1. It’s better for the environment
Locally owned businesses make more local purchases, shortening the supply chain and decreasing emissions from transportation. They are generally located in city centres or home offices, reducing urban sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.
2. It provides more and better employment
In New Zealand, more than 600,000 people are employed by over 500,000 locally owned and operated small businesses. Small independent businesses are often more flexible to employees’ needs – giving staff a higher quality of life, and a town with multiple businesses provides a variety of employment options. Multiple small businesses result in more associated employment. For example, a town with 20 small shops can support an accountant whereas a big box retailer will have their own accounting team at head office.
Locally owned businesses allow 2.5 million Kiwis to live outside of Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch.
3. It’s an investment in a thriving community
The variety of employment options means that people are more likely to stay in the community with their families, increasing the chance the local school will stay open. Entrepreneurs and employers stay living locally, increasing the knowledge and skill base of the town.
4. It makes communities distinctive
When our towns consist of many unique businesses, they become varied and interesting. This attracts visitors and tourists who bring more money into the community.
5. It makes communities more resilient
When towns are built around one employer, they lack the resilience of a town made up of a number of small businesses. If the one employer fails then the whole town can become unemployed. Local businesses also offer a focus point for the community and form relationships with their customers. This interconnectedness increases the resilience of the town
6. Local businesses support their communities
Local businesses donate more money (per sales dollar) to local schools, events, and teams than national chains do. Raffle prizes and donations to community projects might be small in monetary amounts compared to grants from big companies, but they provide essential funds for projects that big businesses aren’t interested in sponsoring – for example, sports teams’ uniforms or school music trips.
7. Local businesses supply the products you need
Local shops are more likely to stock the products their customers need – not those they are told to stock by head office. Shopping becomes a more interesting experience when there are 20 small businesses rather than one big box retailer.
8. It keeps money in the community
When you buy from independent, locally owned businesses, more money is circulated through the community, about 48% compared to 14% from big business. Small businesses contribute 28% of New Zealand’s GDP, and locally owned businesses reduce inequality by spreading wealth. 20 or 30 small businesses all take a share of the money spent instead of one big box retailer funnelling money out of town to a few shareholders.
9. You get better service
Local businesses often hire people with more knowledge of the product or service – so you get better service.
10. There’s a higher contribution to public services
Local businesses contribute more to local and national taxes (rates, companies tax, income tax), ensuring better public services like schools and transportation.
11. Supporting small businesses fosters innovation
Small businesses aren’t restricted by corporate bureaucracy and can experiment and innovate. In the USA, small businesses produce 16 times as many patents than big businesses.
There’s never been a better time to get behind small local businesses when you choose where to spend your money. What do you love about shopping local? Comment below – we’d love to hear your thoughts!