If you’re out shopping anywhere these days, it’s hard to miss people or billboards or other advertisements imploring you to buy local and to use your money to support the local economy.
Odds are you’ve heard about the importance of shopping local quite a bit and you might even go above and beyond when it comes to buying local. Maybe you visit the local farmer’s market every week for fresh produce or maybe you stop into the local coffee shop every morning on your way into work. You might have even found the best hardware store offering garage door repairs and more.
But stop for a second and think about your buying habits. Sure, you might buy local and support local businesses, but have you ever considered the importance of shopping local. You may not know, but the local shops in your town and in towns all across America make up a large percentage of the jobs in the United States and need the patronage of people like you to survive.
So why should you support local business and shop local? Here are 12 reasons why:
Trusting Your Neighbors
When you shop local and buy from your local shops, you’re supporting the local economy, yes. But you’re doing something much bigger than that. You’re also getting to know your neighbors on a human level and when you get to know people, your level of trust in them increases.
That’s especially important when it comes to health care. Let’s say you or a family member has an unplanned medical emergency. In those moments, you want medical care from someone you can trust. If you’ve established rapport with the local medical staff—some of whom you might be friends with—you’ll feel confident about trusting them to take care of yours or a family member’s medical needs.
Times like these are a perfect example of the importance of shopping local. No one wants to visit the hospital or the emergency room, but if you do, you’ll feel much more comfortable if you have a personal relationship with the staff taking care of you. The same thing is true if you need to visit a primary care doctor, especially when it comes to kids. By getting to know the local staff, your kids will know what the local doctor’s office offers friendly medical care and it’s a place where they can feel comfortable.
It doesn’t matter if you need your car fixed or your buying food or your visiting the doctor, if you know the people you’re doing business with, you’ll have no problem giving them your business because you trust them and the job they do.
Boosting The Economy
One of the biggest takeaways you should have about the importance of shopping local is that when you buy from local businesses, the money stays in the local economy. No matter where you spend your money, if you visit your local stores and Mom and Pop shops, your money is going to help those businesses.
Think about a favorite local restaurant. If you frequent it often because of the food, you’re getting a lot more than a good meal. By visiting that restaurant and giving them your money, you’re helping that restaurant pay bills, pay employees, and perhaps even keep up with repairs and general upkeep of the restaurant. So next time you visit your favorite restaurant and leave a generous tip, know that that tip is doing something good for a lot of people and is very much appreciated.
The importance of shopping local simply cannot be understated. Bottom line: it helps a lot of people and helps the community. But perhaps more importantly, you can build rapport with the people in your town.
If you’ve just recently moved to a town, take time to get to know the layout and get to know your fellow townspeople. The more you’re seen around town and the more you get to know people, the more you’ll want to shop local. By patronizing local businesses and being friendly, businesses will be more than happy to help you and might even go above and beyond for you. If you’re a frequent customer of a local business, that businesses might occasionally offer you discounts. Or if you visit a farmer’s market or meat market, they might be able to hook you up with the best and freshest items because they appreciate your business.
Getting Better Service
Think about the last time you needed an emergency repair in your car or in your home. When it comes to shopping local, you can’t beat getting local service when it comes to repairs.
Again, this is all about establishing rapport. If you’re having a plumbing issue, you can call a local 24 hour emergency plumbing service to come and fix your problem right away.
The same is true if you’re having problems with your home’s HVAC system. Whether it’s the middle of winter or the dog days of summer, local repairmen that deal with heating and cooling systems can come out right away and fix any issues right away, rather than having to wait or get put on a list.
An extra benefit of dealing with local contractors is that, not only can you give them your business, you can recommend them as the go-to place in town. Local businesses love getting recommendations from longtime customers and if you scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours, especially the next time you have a repair emergency.
The importance of shopping local definitely involves spending money, but it’s about more than that. Not only are you spending money, but you’re spending money on quality services and products. If you go to the farmer’s market, you’ll want to spend your money because you know you’re getting quality food. If you do business with a local repair shop, you’ll feel comfortable spending money because you know the shop will do a bang-up job. If you visit a local dentist for a cleaning or some X-rays, you know those professionals are doing a good job of taking care of your teeth.
Saving Some Money
Buying and spending local is important, but did you also know you can actually save money by buying local?
Suppose that you’re in the market for a new car. You can shop online or travel all around, visiting one auto dealer after another. Or you might try your local dealers and find out that they offer some really great deals. In fact, you may also find they offer faster, better quality service and won’t give you the runaround. After all, buying a new car shouldn’t be a stressful experience.
By dealing with your local dealers, you’ll get real, honest-to-goodness service and you’ll establish strong relationships that might help you or your family in the future. If you buy one car and love the service you receive, you’ll be more inclined to go back there and the next time you need a new car or you’ll send family members there when they’re looking for new rides.
The same thing is true when it comes to buying and selling homes. It’s estimated that more than 5.3 million homes in the United States were sold in 2019. If you’re selling your home, you can put your faith in a local realtor, who knows the area and can help drum up interest in your home. This eliminates a lot of the hassle of selling a home because local experts will know how to showcase it.
Looking Out For Your Best Interest
Another added benefit of shopping local is that local shops look out for you, the customer. In places like grocery stores and doctor’s offices and even auto repair shops, employees should be more than willing to help you and address any concerns you have because they know that you value the goods and services they provide, and they, in turn, value your business.
Take, for example, a company that specializes in residential roofing. Rather than going with a national company, put your money into a local company, who can answer any questions you have and offer you better quality and service.
As you think about the importance of shopping local, keep in mind that by shopping local, you’ll have easier access to local shops and their employees. This is especially true when it comes to taking care of your home. If your home’s HVAC system is on the fritz for example and needs a new HVAC motor, a local HVAC shop likely has the parts on hand to help you right away. This stands in contrast to national companies, which may have to order parts and may not be able to offer a more personal level of service. As any customer knows, there’s nothing quite like good customer service and being able to call on a local business at any time, increases your chances of doing repeat business.
Even if you know about the importance of buying local, you need to feel comfortable about a product or service before you buy it. If you don’t feel comfortable or you feel you’re getting swindled, you’re going to shy away from doing business with a particular place.
Regardless of whether you’re eating out at a restaurant or you need medical help or you need the help of a local plumbing service to help you with household leaks, you’re going to feel better and more comfortable about spending your money if you can trust what you’re buying.
Helping On A Human Level
If you need a good reminder about the importance of shopping local, consider how your money helps people on a human level rather than just about spending money. Yes, shopping local helps the local economy and helps businesses stay open. But your money does more than that. Your money helps put a business owner’s kids through college or helps a kid go to summer camp or helps a local sports team get new uniforms for the upcoming season. By thinking of the human impact your money makes, you’ll feel better about the local investments you make, whether that’s buying a car from a local dealer, stopping at a local food truck or getting a haircut at a local salon.
Getting To Know Your Town
As mentioned above, buying local doesn’t just keep your money in the local economy, it also helps you learn where things are in town. By buying local, you learn about the importance of shopping local, but you’ll get to know your surroundings. Who knows? You might find a deli that serves the most amazing sandwiches or a brewery that serves a delicious local beer or an art gallery with talented local artists.
As you shop around, you’ll also get to know about the folks in your town. You might find that your next-door neighbor is a fireman and can advise you on the best fire sprinkler companies to put a sprinkler system in your own small business. You might find out that the mechanic who fixed your car when you had an emergency situation lives just a few streets over. With time, your neighbors and the people you do business with on a regular basis won’t just be casual acquaintances, they’ll also become your friends, who are always ready to help you out.
Positively Impacting Your Community
At the end of the day, when you buy local, shop local and spend your money locally, you’re making a bigger impact than you may realize. You’re helping your friends and neighbors and investing in your town. In return, you’re getting quality products and quality services from friendly businesses that are eager to help you.
So the next time you play a round on the local golf course or go out for Italian food at a local restaurant or hire a local contractor, think about how much good your money is doing and about the importance of shopping local. By shopping local, you’re helping your community thrive, getting to know your community, helping your friends and neighbors stay in business and making an important impact on a human level.