In the wake of COVID-19, news sources and social media have been strongly encouraging viewers to support local businesses. What does this really mean, and why is it important anyway? Local businesses are important fixtures in a community. Not only do they provide goods and services to citizens, but they also help stimulate the local economy.
Someone doesn’t have to be anti-capitalism to endorse local businesses over corporations and national brands. Through local patronage, community-based stores, restaurants and services can strengthen the entire neighborhood.
Money Stays Local
Local businesses tend to frequent other local businesses. When someone shops at a local store or dines in a family-owned restaurant over a chain brand like Applebee’s, they are helping fuel the cycle. For every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remains in the community.
Local restaurants also produce more for the money they receive; the smaller size and lower operating costs means the quality of goods ultimately improves tenfold for every customer.
It Raises Employment Levels
Local businesses employ more than 77 million Americans. During these hard times, with over 40 million people out of work, the nation needs small, local businesses more than ever. Many of the jobs that are available at local businesses are easier to acquire and more flexible; people who do not have a college education or who need to work a fixed schedule will have greater luck finding work in a local establishment.
It’s Good for the Environment
Another major advantage of shopping at local businesses is a reduced eco-footprint. Smaller establishments consume fewer resources and lower carbon emissions; a decision to shop locally is good for one’s wallet and the planet. Small, local changes are what ultimately have the greatest impact on national environmental change.
Helping the entire world become more eco-friendly may seem impossible, but everyone is capable of supporting a local business.
How to Get Involved
There are a number of ways people can start to support local businesses. Some of the easiest and most accessible types of community businesses include:
- Boutiques and local shops with handmade goods.
- Farmer’s markets.
- Recreation centers and community pools over gym chains.
- Local mechanics and hardware stores versus corporations.
Individuals can also spread awareness online by sharing images of their purchases on social media and tagging the business; posting reviews about excellent service and positive experiences online also help boost local businesses’ reputations and attract more customers.