“Local” and “Small Business” are two terms that you’ve probably heard dropped in countless conversations. Never has it been trendier to shop at locally owned small businesses (and subsequently talk about it).
Yes, “local” is the new “green.” Everywhere you look, people are becoming aware of their local economies. Grassroots organizations preach about it, celebrities have voiced their support- shopping locally is a trend with an ethical purpose.
Why should you care?
Well, consider this. We are in an age where the American dollar is in a rapid decline. Almost every product or service is outsourced to China or India. Large corporations eagerly strive to keep costs down through unethical means, cutting corners with near slave labor and flimsy materials. Basically, the system of industrial centralization is beginning to crumble beneath it’s own weight. There are too few providing for too many, too much money leaving the country, and not enough goods to go around.
Now, before you start to have a panic attack and feel like the fate of the world rests on your noble shoulders, let me just say that you don’t have to get into politics to make a difference. In order to create change in this economic free fall, each person can simply become more aware of each purchase they make. You vote with your dollar.
Most people make purchases based on the best value for their time and money spent. But what they don’t do, however, is consider all the factors that contribute to the value of a product or service, and whether or not there are unseen costs to consider that lurk behind that low price tag.
Consider this hypothetical example. A shirt may cost $40 at Santa Barbara Outfitters (a local business). That same shirt may cost $35 at Wall Mart. At Santa Barbara Outfitters the employees are treated with respect, and paid reasonable salaries with benefits. At Wall Mart, all the employees are treated like grunts, only hired on a part time basis in order to avoid paying benefits, and only paid minimum wage. What kind of business do you want populating your town? What kind of people do you want populating your town?
When you purchase from locally owned businesses you keep your money circulating locally. Within your town, within your city, within your state, and within your country- it literally comes back to you in one form or another. That little mom & pop coffee shop down the street gets to stay in business and support a family of four, while you get to enjoy a cappuccino made by a professional barista…instead of a disgruntled minimum-wage-making college student.
You don’t have to think of shopping locally as charity. Understand that, when you keep money local, and your local economy thrives, that means an overall better standard of living for everyone involved. In a way, it’s like getting money back on every purchase you make.
And if nothing else, supporting your local economy allows for diversity. Instead of a city full of JC Pennys, you’ll have dozens of unique boutiques to get clothing from that no one else may have. Instead of every coffee shop being a Starbucks, and serving the same exact thing all the time, you’ve got all kinds of interesting coffee shops with funky décor and real drink craftsmanship. Again, you’re doing this for you!
There should be no question of why shopping locally and supporting small businesses is important. I urge you to consider the things I mentioned the next time you’re thinking about spending money. I think you’ll find yourself extremely happy with your decision.
For more info on why supporting local economies is important for America now more than ever, please visit: www.reclaimdemocracy.org