Article added: 11-10-2021
Online purchasing has completely revolutionized how we shop and how retailers grab our attention. The mall was once the central gathering point, not just for bored teenagers, but for shoppers to find everything they needed in one location. While some still thrive, others have gone by the wayside as more people turn to the convenience of online shopping.
It’s tough to blame them. There are no open and closing times on a website; you don’t have to battle parking or the elements or other shoppers; and your purchase eventually shows up right to the front door. Online shopping can save time and money, two things just about all families would enjoy more of.
The unfortunate side effect of this bit of convenience and few minutes saved is what it can do to a local economy. If consumers shift the entirety of their purchasing dollars to large corporations and non-regional chains, the ripple effect is felt not just by local business owners but the greater community.
Corporations tend to answer to shareholders, and the better the company does, the better compensated both the shareholders and executive team are. While this is all well and good for them, locally owned businesses answer to themselves and their customers. What they do with the money they take in is entirely up to them, and the vast majority will indeed reinvest those funds in livable wages for employees, purchasing goods and necessities from other local businesses, and sponsoring youth sports, nonprofits, religious affiliations and other organizations.
For more than a decade, Like Media has encouraged our readers to continue to utilize services and purchase goods and gifts from locally run businesses in their communities. A flip through our pages, you won’t find anything corporate, but rather highly reputable local businesses that we are proud to help support in their marketing efforts. Our staff lives and works in each of the communities in which we publish and truly enjoys getting to know these businesses and taking advantage of the many services or unique goods they offer. This partnership has allowed our company to grow and not just provide better service to our clients, but to greatly expand the amount of wonderful stories we highlight in each issue.
Over the past 20 years, despite massive growth in some major retailers, small business has continued to thrive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Business Employment Dynamics, small businesses created more than 10.5 million jobs between 2000 and 2019. The last two years have been chaotic to say the least, but if you glance in the window of any local business, you’re all but guaranteed to see a help wanted sign, meaning even more jobs are out there than the labor force is currently providing.
Employing locals in your community not only creates opportunity for those individuals and their families, but the wages provided tend to stay more local and be reinvested back into the community. According to the most recent figure from the U.S. Small Business Association, for every $100 you spend at a locally owned business, $48 remains in the local economy. Purchases made at a big box store or national retailer, that number dips to just $14 out of the same $100 spent.
Not only do these dollars go to employee bank accounts but often wind up in support of the local organizations that make each of our communities so unique. Many youth sports teams have the cost of jerseys taken care of by a local business. These same owners attend charity auctions, dinners and galas, committing thousands toward organizations helping youth, the elderly or vulnerable. They also donate time, goods and services for the betterment of their communities.
While shopping in your pajamas and hitting “click” over and over again might save you time in the long run, why not make this the year to go out and really support your locally owned businesses? Those that have sustained the past two years of chaos could certainly use the boost, as can the thousands of entrepreneurs who’ve started their own dream businesses during these challenging economic times.
Small Business Saturday started in 2010 by American Express as a way to encourage holiday shoppers to purchase gifts from local retailers during the holiday season. The idea has blossomed into a movement. A 2020 survey by Union Bank found that 72 percent of Americans said supporting small businesses was more important than getting the best deal. An additional 43 percent said they were willing to spend $20 more on an item to support a small or local business.
Small Business Saturday is Saturday, November 27. This year, skip the Black Friday chaos and instead find a few local stores you maybe haven’t been to for awhile or have yet to walk through the doors. A gift from a local shop is much more personal than a gift card or getting an unwrapped cardboard box in the mail. Even small purchases like a cup of coffee, lunch out or after-shopping cocktail helps keep those dollars close to home.
Support your local community by shopping local this holiday season; the impact in doing so is greater than most of us ever realize.