Your Wallet Is Your Loudest Voice: 3 Ways To Support Local Businesses
Convenience and cost. They’re two of the biggest factors that play a role in where we choose to shop. You can walk into a Target, Costco, or Wal-Mart, grab what you need and be back on the road in less than 30 minutes (though for anyone thinking it’s possible to be in and out of Target in 30 minutes - unicorn dreams). The allure of coupons and deep discounts keep consumers hooked. That’s the appeal of big box stores – many of their products are manufactured at shockingly low costs which is what allows them to sell it to you at a low price. But here’s the catch: Spending your dollars at big box stores come at the expense of your local mom and pop shops, makers, and home-based businesses.
But how does your spending at a big box store impact local shops? Without getting into the weeds, the simplest answer is: small businesses have to account for their own as well as potential employee labor, local suppliers and supplies, cost of delivery, commercial lease, and so much more. Unlike most big box stores or brands, most small businesses don’t rely on outsourced labor or supplies which traditionally allows box stores to price their products are crazy low prices. This also means that the big box stores can afford to cut their prices so low, it can undermine local businesses who need to keep their products at a certain price in order to stay in business and provide a livable wage to themselves and their employees.
We’re not saying to forego toilet paper and toothpaste to avoid the big box stores everywhere, but supporting local doesn't mean you need to start saving piles of leaves either. Local businesses offer a lot of the same products and services as the big stores. While big box can offer quantity and low prices, local shops can offer unique items, better quality, locally sourced, and a better customer and shop experience where you can connect directly with the owner. This means that as a consumer, you have near unlimited choice of what, when, and where to buy your products. You also have one very powerful tool that you can use to not only support local business but can also greatly influence the kind of community you create: your wallet.
Below are three reasons shopping local is good for your wallet and how your wallet can influence the greater community through buying decisions. By shopping local even 50% of the time, you can have a greater impact on your community and independent businesses. You’ll be impressed by how much good you can contribute to your community and to the businesses and employees of your community by tweaking how you shop for even just a few items!
Shopping local circulates spending back into your community services
Want to provide some support to local schools, parks, roads, community centres, fire houses and other public works and services? There’s this little thing called sales tax.
For every dollar spent with a local business, it is predicted that $0.60-$0.70 cents stays in your local community. Since small businesses have to pay sales taxes to their city and/or province or state, your dollars are re-circulated in the community allowing for community-focused initiatives around re-vamping or even the building of new public spaces.
According to Businesswire, “...On average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses is recirculated locally, compared to less than 14% of purchases at chain stores.” So, what’s one way you can have a say on the development of your community? By spending a few dollars each month on your favourite (or new!) local spots.
Shopping local can help provide a livable wage for employees of local businesses
When consumers purchase local products, it means a business can afford to pay their employees (and themselves) a wage that not only covers more than just the bare necessities but also allows them to invest their own dollars into the local economy. Further, the shop owner can continue to work with local businesses and hire employees to contribute to further growth. This investment can effect sectors and employees in all verticals, such as:
- Farmers and food suppliers
- Local manufacturers
- Local delivery workers
- Local makers and creators
- Service and sales workers
When you consider that an almost whopping 70% of all job creation come from small business, you then become one of the biggest contributors to creating new jobs. In Canada, nearly 99% of small and medium businesses make up the economy!
"In the US, every dollar spent at a small business creates an additional 50 cents of local economic impact." - U.S. Chamber
The economic impact of your spending means $0.30 comes from small businesses using local vendors and $0.20 gets spent locally by the owner and their employees. Welcome to the world of building a economically sustainable community!
Shopping local supports your homegrown heroes
Every now and then, we hear those stories of a local businesses that grew into a larger than life success story. I think we can all agree that supporting local helps bring communities together, grows the community, and inspires others to do the same. Knowing that we played a small but important part in the success of our favourite independent businesses, brands, and shops is part of the joy we get in supporting local businesses.
In a recent article by Intuit, “70% of consumers are supporting local businesses by shopping online only, or a mix of online and in-store which tells us two things. First, when given the opportunity, locals prefer to support local businesses. Second, businesses can leverage technology to tap into and reach the consumers that want to support them. As a consumer, “do good, see good” is investing in and seeing the impact your dollars have on businesses built by members of the community that have a vested interest in seeing their towns and cities thrive. By making the choice to spend a few dollars with your local farmer’s market, soap marker, or clothing designer, you help fuel the continued success of a sustainable local ecosystem.
Spending at local shops is impactful
The conscientious shopper is the consumer that thinks about the impact of who and what businesses they choose to support. Especially now, during COVID, asking yourself “where does my dollar go” is crucial. Even if you can only switch to local shopping for certain items, you will make a positive impact. Your wallet is the most powerful tool you have but what you decide to do with it depends on you. If you’ve ever wondered how you can make the biggest impact in your community, the answer is a short distance away.
Are you looking to test your product with local users? You can submit an application via Launchmark!