If you are looking to shop local stores this holiday season, Small Business Saturday is a great place to start. For the third year in a row, American Express is sponsoring an effort to shift consumer focus to local businesses nationwide. This year, Small Business Saturday falls on Saturday, November 24, 2012, over Thanksgiving weekend, right in between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So what’s in it for you the consumer to shop small businesses this holiday season? There are actually many ways in which this initiative to shop local stores can benefit both you and your local community.
- Money stays in the community: When you shop local stores, the money you spend has a much greater likelihood of staying right in your community rather than being channeled back to corporate headquarters in some far-off place.
- Strengthens local tax base: Even a 10% increase in local spending can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in municipal tax revenues, which can have a major impact on local infrastructure. This extra revenue helps to support municipalities in many different ways, from road maintenance to efforts to attract new economic drivers to the community.
- Better variety: One of the greatest advantages small businesses offer to local communities is the unique products and services they offer. This keeps a good deal of variety in the marketplace, ensuring a greater range of choices for consumers.
- Environmentally friendly: Simply put, local shopping reduces your carbon footprint, particularly when the goods are produced locally as well.
- Greater investment in local community: For the most part, small business owners tend to be much more invested in enhancing the local community. In fact, according to Independent We Stand project manager Bill Brunelle, the rate of reinvestment in the local economy by locally owned businesses is 60 percent higher than chains and Internet retailers.
- Enhanced personal service: Overall, local business owners possess a level of expertise and passion for the products they sell that is unmatched among national chain stores.
- Improvement of local job growth: Small businesses continue to provide jobs within communities and are believed by many experts to be the biggest progenitor of job growth nationwide.
- Increased support of local fundraising: Research shows that local business owners contribute to more local fundraising and non-profit organizations than out-of-town chain stores.
- Build local character: Despite our increasingly homogenized world, small businesses continue to provide one-of-a-kind offerings that lend a distinctive character to local communities.
- Support of friends and neighbors: When you shop local stores, you are patronizing local residents who own and staff these enterprises. What better way to invest in your community by helping your neighbors to succeed?
Beals, Rachel Koning. “How Consumers and Communities Can Benefit from “Buying Local” U.S. News and World Report. 10/28/11.