Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Support local business!

This is a photoless post before I go to bed, to ask for your help.
I know it already looks super boring before you've even read it. Huge amount of text. I'm a picture person and I wouldn't read it. No chance.
But you should :)

Those who are lucky enough to benefit from the government payout this week I ask you a favor.
If you have decided to spend it, on Christmas or something you have been needing or whatever it may be, I ask that you consider where you are spending the money.
Buying items from chain stores filled with mass produced items might be the convenient place to go, but buying locally, from small independent businesses, does more than just leave you with a bag of stuff.

It will often leave you with a better shopping experience. You might even be greeted with a smile!
You'll leave with an interesting, different item that everyone else won't have.
But most importantly, you will be supporting a business, often a family who put their all into it, and are appreciative of every customer. Compared than a high profit chain store who will sleep well at night if you shop there or not.
When you support local business, you're supporting yourself.
Buying from large retailers won't help the economy. Small retailers are the backbone of our community's economy, and not supporting them will ruin the economy.

Ok, I just found a website.

If you aren't already bored, and haven't already decided where you're going to shop, then click this link.

My favorite points.

Why Should You Support Local Business?
"The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives."
-Buddhist Proverb

Local business people make an enormous and positive contribution to the quality of life in our community. Local businesses create good jobs, and they boost the local tax base, which in turn improves our schools, our parks, and the quality of life in our town. Most importantly, local businesses are invested in our community.

Chain stores have done a good job of convincing people that they are the least expensive, but often they are not. It has become an article of faith that the big guys are cheaper, but it just isn't that simple. Part of the reason is that the big chain stores hire researchers to study shoppers to examine which items people price compare, and which items they don't. The big chain stores will mark down the items people price compare, and mark up other items (1). It is not wise to assume that the big stores are cheaper.

If you give your dollars to a chain store, then that money leaves our community and we benefit from it very little. If you spend your money at a locally owned business, then that money is more likely to be spent again and again in the local economy, generating many dollars worth of employment. If a lot of people spend their money locally, then they generate a lot of local employment without inflationary pressure.

The average food item travels over 1200 miles before it reaches your dinner plate (5). Buying from local farmers and locally owned grocery stores means that transportation costs are reduced. Locally produced goods on average are less heavily packaged. Locally produced food has to be refrigerated less, if at all. Buying goods that are produced, packaged, and sold locally means less energy consumption, less pollution, and less loss of forests to build roads, warehouses, and packaging materials.

Large firms have the ability to secure capital and build brand name loyalty. It is time that we divorce ourselves from the brand names we have become so familiar with and turn our support toward locally owned businesses.

Even if it's the difference between where you buy a bottle of drink for lunch, Give the little family run cafe the profit. They'll appreciate it.

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