We do it whenever possible. Whether it is our coffee, the meat and produce for our summer barbecues, our gasoline or our clothes. If it is possible to support a local merchant, we do it.
Why? Because it builds community. Because these small business owners are people and these people are our neighbours, our friends and our family. They are a part of our community and a part of the local lifeblood of our cities. Supporting them is what any community minded citizen should be doing.
When you make a purchase from a big box store what is that money going towards? Corporate greed? According to a report by Bloomberg Business Week:
“…The AFL-CIO’s average CEO-to-worker multiple at big U.S. companies is 357 [x the average employee’s wage]. Bloomberg’s average ratio for Standard & Poor’s 500 companies is 204; the average of the top 100 companies on our table is 495. That is, CEOs of the companies on that table averaged 495 times the income of non-supervisory workers in their industries.”
How much do you make at your job? Imagine making 200 to 400 x that amount. In the words of Homer Simpson “that’s a spicy-meat-a-ball”.
Of course to cannot pigeon-hole all corporate sales. Obviously their profits go towards more than just their CEO and Upper Management paychecks. Profits from sales go towards their marketing, their sales, their manufacturing and the level of inventory they need to maintain to keep prices low. However consider what these companies actually invest locally – it is next to nothing. Not to mention what do they pay their employees? or worse yet, what do they pay the people manufacturing their goods? It is a pittance.
When we attempt to justify shopping at big stores in order to support their employees (and we have), we are really just supporting the concept of part-time employment on minimum wage with few or no benefits. In contrast recent studies indicate that local small businesses are the largest employer of financially solid jobs nationally in the United States.
Oh and all those big signs that corporations put up stating what they donate to charity? If their CEO is making even 200 x the average Canadian, that puts his pay scale at over 10 million dollars annually. Those lump sums that they state have been donated to charity? pretty meager in the grand scheme of things and how much of that is contributed directly from consumers at the til? We’ve all been asked to donate to the Children’s Charity or Foodbank in the midst of paying for our groceries.
All studies point to non-profit organizations receiving on average, 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
Yes I know that I am standing on a metaphorical soap box right now and no it isn’t comfortable. Do I think that everyone can shop small business every time, all of the time? No. There are certain items that one simply cannot find at local shops and I understand that. However one cannot underestimate the need for our small business community. If the purchase can be made reasonably at a local small business, it is to all of our benefit to do so.
A healthy community begins with a healthy economy and small businesses are an essential part of this.
24 Reasons To Shop Local:
Consider what shopping local does:
- It is Better For Everyone’s Bottom Line: Brock University research recently suggested that $3 billion would be added to the local economy if 5 million Ontarians spent $10 of their grocery budget on local foods each week.
- It Puts Your Taxes to Good Use: Local businesses require comparatively little infrastructure investment. They make more efficient use of public services than big corporations do when they enter the community.
- It Supports Local Decision-making: Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
- It Invests Into Local Community: Local businesses are owned by local people. They live in the local community, they are more invested in the local community and they are less likely to leave the local community.
- It Encourages Local Prosperity: A growing body of economic research points to entrepreneurs and skilled workers, in an increasingly homogenized world, being more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
- It Puts Money Directly Back Into the Local Community: The more money that says local, the healthier the community remains.
- Long-term Benefits and Diversity: A marketplace of multiple small businesses ensures local innovation and a wide variety of products and services that targets local interests and needs as opposed to a national sales strategy.
- Long-term Better Prices: When a marketplace consists of thousands of small businesses rather than just a handful of large corporations it helps ensure lower prices over the long-term.
- It Promotes Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurship fuels North America’s economic innovation and prosperity. This is a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
- It Supports a Local Business Owner and Their Family: It provides food and clothes. It means dance lessons for their little girls and a soccer jersey for their son.
- It Supports The People Directly Around Us: People we pass on the street everyday. People who could easily be you or I.
- It Supports a Livelihood Not a Lifestyle: This isn’t another yacht, summer home or additional stock options for some CEO you’ll never meet. This is the needs of the people who live next to us.
- It Boosts Environmental Well-being: When sustainable local foods are grown utilizing humane animal practices and environmentally responsible methods we have assurance that our food is healthier and is making minimal impact on the environment. Likewise purchasing locally made products and services reduce the carbon footprint related to freight and transport needs.
- It Generates Environmental Sustainability: Local stores create a vibrant, compact, walkable town center. This reduces economic migration due to businesses expanding outside of the city centre. This in turn reduces automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
- It Creates an Increased Number of GOOD Jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and within our community. These small businesses create a healthy economic work force by generating REAL jobs.
- You Get Better Service: Local businesses hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling. They know or get to know the local customers. Small businesses employees are generally more invested and happier which translates to better consumer experiences.
- It Promotes Cultural Diversity: Varieties of products, foods & services are based on the local shopping habits, creating an “culturally diverse” marketplace.
- It Supports the Future of Farming: Strong local farming ensures local goods can be grown and raised in the future.
- Local Food is More Nutritious: Once harvested, produce quickly loses nutrients. Since local produce is sold right after it’s picked, it retains more nutrients.
- It Promotes Bio-diversity: Increased demand for local food creates greater variety.
- Local Food Growth Keeps Taxes Down: Governments spend approximately $1.17 on services for every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, which increases taxes. Conversely for every $1 in revenue raised by a farm, a forest or open space, a government spends approximately $0.34 cents on services.
- It Supports Local Community Charity Groups: Studies point to non-profit organizations receiving an average 250% more support from smaller businesses than they do from corporations.
- It Reduces Chance of “Dead” Zones in Cities: Local stores make use of existing business spaces. This creates a lively, compact, walk able town center. This reduces economic migration related to big businesses expanding outside of the city centre.
- It Keeps Our Community Unique: Our local small business are a distinct part of what makes our community home. These one-of-a-kind businesses our OUR one-of-a-kind businesses. The create the distinctive character of our communities.
When we make a purchase at a local small business we are setting into motion a series of events that can generate support and sales to several small businesses within the community. Several studies indicate that purchases made from independent, small businesses significantly increase the amount of money used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers etc.
This creates a domino effect of sorts which further strengthens the economic base of the community. Summaries of a variety of economic impact studies can be found here these include case studies showing that locally owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact to the local community and our tax base.
- It supports the property manager of the building.
- It supports the LOCAL trades people who maintain the building.
- It supports the LOCAL students who work there (as opposed to outsourced workers through questionable recruitment agencies like Actyl)
- It supports local product and service providers related to the manufacture and sales from that business.
- It supports the LOCAL print companies that handle the flyers and posters and print ad’s (as opposed to the large corporate marketing companies).
- It supports LOCAL tourism. Diverse small businesses are more attractive to tourists and vacationers.
This post came across my Facebook feed a week ago and honestly we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Transition Marketing Services. Our passion is educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how were doing or if you have any questions. TRANSITION MARKETING SERVICES – Small Business Marketing Specialists.