I spent a bunch of money on books the other day. It felt really good to give my money to this small, local bookstore rather than a huge, stupid one. This started me thinking about why supporting small, local businesses is so important to me.
First and foremost, my parents had a small business when I was growing up, so I know how hard-working small business owners have to be, and I goddamn respect them. Beyond this, shopping at a small, local store, rather than a huge box store, often delivers a better overall experience, as it fosters community to develop relationships with business owners. Even if the product you get isn’t better – which it often is – the quality of the experience is generally superior to the experience of shopping in huge chain stores.
And it’s not just the size of the store that matters; locally-owned businesses have a different vibe altogether, as multi-national companies have less accountability to the communities where they plunk down their businesses. Even a local company that expands in size is more likely to consider the impact of their business practices on the community in which the owners /operators also reside.
I’m not sure if there is something inherent to living in the same community that makes a local company “good.” But supporting local businesses redirects dollars and redistributes power that would otherwise land squarely in the lap of big business. And it’s not just about providing competition; it’s about providing an alternative to the profits-before-people business model that has come to dominate our society. As consumers, we have a choice in where we shop, and that choice enables us to support businesses that are good at more than just making money.
Nobody’s perfect, and it can definitely be a challenge to shop local. But it’s a challenge well worth tackling, my friends. Our communities are worth it!