Up until a few decades ago, local shops were the go-to source for nearly all goods and services in communities throughout New York. As the U.S. became more connected and corporate America began to grow, big-box stores and service providers began infringing upon mom-and-pop shops everywhere. Today, small businesses also have the Internet to contend with, which has made it possible to shop fast and affordably, but is it all it’s cracked up to be? What do you lose when you trade the personalized service of a small business for a big, multi-state company? Continue reading to learn five reasons why it pays to shop locally.
1. More Jobs for the Community
When you shop from a big, corporate company, you are infusing money into a business that can allocate profits wherever it deems fit. That means that the revenue generated from your neighborhood in Waterville or Moravia, for example, might be redistributed to build a new location thousands of miles away, ultimately creating jobs in a completely different community instead of your own. By shopping a local business instead, the money you spend is much more likely to be cycled right back into your own community, potentially supporting local growth and jobs for people in your own region.
2. Boost Residential Real Estate Valuations
Today’s home buyers are typically looking for convenience and an active lifestyle. They want to walk to dinner or drop off their dry cleaning on the way to work. When successful small businesses serve a neighborhood, it can put a premium on the houses nearby, sometimes increasing their resale values by as much as 50 percent or more. Over time, this can create a snowball effect, where the success of established small businesses begins to attract other small businesses. Not only do property values tend to rise, but city and school district tax revenues also go up, facilitating improvements to local campuses, parks, safety departments and infrastructure.
3. Environmental Impact
Shopping local leaves a smaller environmental footprint than purchasing through large national and multi-national businesses. When you walk to the small businesses in your neighborhood, for example, you are reducing environmental emissions. Even if you must drive, however, there are still benefits to the atmosphere. Often, local businesses source their products and inventory locally as opposed to big-box businesses that burn large quantities of fossil fuels in the process of transporting goods from the manufacturer to the warehouse and eventually to the retailer.
4. Enhanced Regional Benefits
No one knows your town like the people who live and work in it. When you shop local, you can garner the expertise and advice of professionals who know which products work well in your area. For example, you can take a water sample to a local pool supply store, and they can tell you what products you may need to balance the chemicals in your swimming pool. Likewise, you can talk with a local independent insurance agent about the most common homeowner’s insurance claims in your area so that you can better prepare against calamity. If you had bought your pool chemicals from a big chain store or purchased insurance online without the help of a local agent, you could have ended up with the wrong type of product to fit your needs.
5. Cultural Support
No matter where you go in the U.S., you will find a local culture. In fact, there are unique elements and nuances in specific regions and towns that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. When you shop local, you are more likely to find works by local artisans, or perhaps even find unique goods relatable to your local culture that may not be available from big box stores.
Furthermore, the money you put into local businesses helps support the local community. Often, it is the local business owners who contribute the most toward civic causes and community organizations. From charity events to little league baseball sponsorships, the growth of small business entrepreneurship often supports a good cause.
There you have it. Five reasons to shop local. We’re sure there are many others as well, but this should be enough to sway your decision as to where to shop the next time you need something. And remember that this doesn’t only include retail purchases, but choosing to do business with all types of local businesses, including insurance.
If you have questions about your insurance, shop local and talk to a local agent in any of our six locations.