During the holidays, shopping online had an almost irresistible lure. You could shop from the comfort of your couch, read reviews to find out how satisfied previous customers are and compare prices from dozens of merchandisers. Then, once you have made your choice, you simply click a few icons and then wait patiently for a couple of days until the UPS truck pulls up.
However, there are many reasons for you to pull on your mittens, fight the traffic and stand in line this year. Here are a few considerations that might influence you to stay off the Internet and pay a visit to a local store:
Local spending means that dollars stay in your community. When you shop online or in a big chain store, the money you pay ends up supporting jobs in other cities, and maybe in other countries. To help your neighbors, support a local store with your business. Even if you don’t know the people that work at your corner bookstore, they are likely shopping in other stores, visiting the dentist or attending a yoga class where you do know the employees.
Supporting local business means money for local charities. Do you love the work that your local food bank does in the community? Your neighborhood bakery probably does, too. When you shop at that bakery, you support your local food bank. Local businesses often think in terms of supporting other local entities, which means that they are likely donating money or excess product to a local charity.
Think of local shopping as a way to support local government. Your local spending has a cascade effect. Local businesses pay local taxes, helping take the pressure off individuals. If you want to help support the efforts of your local government without paying more for the services, buy at local shops.
Local businesses support the community in a way that a chain store may not. Local businesses have a stake in your community, while big chains really aren’t as invested. Think about, for instance, your high school marketing class wanting to write a business plan for a local pharmacy to get real-life experience. Your mom-and-pop pharmacy is more likely to want to support these students in their studies and allow them the opportunity to get insight from their business.
You can ask questions and talk with an expert. When you shop locally in a brick-and-mortar establishment, you are more likely to get a recommendation for a great book or try a solution in your home-improvement project that you would never hear online or in a big chain store.
Shopping local is better for your community. When you shop local, you keep your money circulating in your own community and make an investment that is much bigger than the purchase you made that day.