The Value of Shopping Local is Not Just About Money
When possible, I try to eat at local restaurants. These local restaurants tend to be smaller than the big brands. This has multiple effects to my perception. I feel that the owner loves cooking and has a passion for making the food. I feel that the team knows me as a person, rather than just “table #6”. Some restaurants even know my order before I sit down to eat. I feel that the food is better because more care was taken to prepare it. I also believe that they use healthier local food to prepare their meals. Local restaurants make my city unique. I want to support local restaurants because would be a shame to lose such unique talent. If I know the owner personally, then it makes me want to help support them that much more.
Although I have specifically talked about local restaurants, these points can be said for all local businesses. There are many benefits to shopping local. Today we will be discussing a few of them.
Higher Quality Products and Service
If I am going to get my hair cut, I am going to go to my local barber. They have had a bunch of years of experience. They love what they do enough to have made a career out of it. I trust my local barber more than I trust some random kid, with less experience, working for a paycheck.
Our local craft store already knows my wife’s order before she walks into the shop. They know she is there every other Saturday at 2PM. She goes there to pick up the same thread and fabric. If she needs assistance, she rarely has to ask. Usually someone is already cutting the right ribbon at the length she wants. Sometimes if they have a slow weekend, her order will be on the counter before she walks in the door. This level of service saves time and is truly convenient.
More Attention and Care
When I need an oil change, I take my car to a local mechanic. He has been working on cars his whole life. Sometimes when you go to a large national chain, you feel like you get scammed. Sometimes people are charged for work that was never done! I do not think people are lying. I assume that some of the large national chains just have too much turnover. They do not have enough time to take proper care of each car. I trust my local mechanic more. He knows his customers and he knows the work he needs to do. I truly believe he cares more about the work he does.
I shop at the local farmers’ market for health reasons. The big chains carry food that has been treated with harmful pesticides. Meanwhile, my favorite local farms only use homemade organic pesticide. There is a theory that eating local honey can help decrease allergy symptoms. I do not know if this is true, but I plan to continue purchasing honey from a local beekeeper. I always find that fresh local honey tastes better than mass produced honey.
Local businesses make a city unique. This is the only place in the world that this business exists. There may be other similar places out there, but they will never be the same. They will never be able to compare to the unique stores and businesses in your city. You cannot find their unique service anywhere else. If they craft something like art or food, then they are offering a unique product as well. You cannot find that exact product anywhere else in the world.
Local businesses bring in tourism dollars. How often do you say, “I want to eat the same exact food I could eat back home,” while on a trip? Hopefully not often. Most people want to try a local favorite when they go somewhere. A local restaurant, store, or attraction is where tourists will spend their money when they visit a town. If there is nothing unique about a city, tourists will not want to visit.
My neighbor runs a preschool. Want to guess where my youngest child goes to school? You got it! He goes to my neighbor’s preschool every day. I have known my neighbor since before my son was born. Her preschool has been open for years, and she has invested in a lot of security for the building. I have met the teachers, and I feel that my child is safe. My neighbor is passionate about her job. You can tell she really cares about the kids at the school. It feels great knowing that I am also helping support my neighbor.
Improves the Economy
There are lot of reasons to shop local. One of the biggest reasons is to help boost your local economy. When you shop local, the money stays in your area. The cash you use to buy a meal at a local restaurant is used to pay your neighbor’s salary. In return, your neighbor uses that cash to pay for much needed home repair. That local repairman uses the cash to get a car repair. That mechanic spends that cash at a local flower shop. That cash is used to pay an employee’s salary. That employee buys a product at your store with that money. You take that money and use it to buy lunch at a local restaurant. The cycle repeats itself. When we shop local, money stays local. Shopping local not only builds character in a town, it also helps the economy.
Ultimately, there are many reasons I shop local. I like to help my community by keeping the money local. I trust the work of my neighbors more than I trust the work of those hundreds or thousands of miles away. I feel that my community grows stronger together as we work together. I also like how unique my city feels with all of the local businesses. You will not find another town like ours. I want to do what I can to help keep it the way it is now.