Why is Shopping Small and Local Important
An opinion piece by Lou
Have you been hearing “Buy Local”, “Support Local,” “Shop Small,” “Shop Women-Owned” a lot lately? Sometimes it feels like it’s all that’s being talked about, and seems to be a big movement in the last few years, and especially this year. But do you know what it actually means?
There is so much that goes into these sayings so let’s break it down.
What does shop small mean? It means to shop from small businesses, supporting small locally-owned shops over big business.
Here are some deeper thoughts: shopping at small businesses does some truly amazing things. It’s awesome to buy from a store that knows you as a person, from people who are there to help you get exactly what you need. Maybe they make all of their own products, or source from other small businesses, creating a beautiful community of support.
Is buying from small businesses easier? Sometimes- you can definitely get a more personalized shopping experience from a small business, which can make finding that special something easier. But sometimes shopping small isn’t the most convenient. Small businesses don’t usually employ a lot of people, so if they are out of stock and they make their own products it takes time to get things made and ready. Or maybe there’s an item they don’t have in stock at that moment and they need to order it for you. The wait might be longer than if you bought it online, because perhaps they don’t buy in bulk, or are buying from another small maker. This can be frustrating - especially when you know you can get that exact item or a very similar item from Amazon. But there’s a HUGE difference in buying from Amazon and buying directly from the maker or a small business.
You can choose to support the faceless ‘big business.’ OR, you can choose to buy from a small business and help someone in your community, and maybe even make a new friend. That maker or entrepreneur has invested everything into a dream, working hard to succeed with their passion. They often work long, hard hours, and this year, probably just barely staying afloat. Small businesses are trying hard to stay open and keep their few employees employed. Shopping at a small business is supporting the single mom, the person who quit their job to finally pursue their dream, the person who invested their life savings into an idea, and the young family wanting to make the world a better place.
Ok what is the big deal about buying local AND small? You are supporting your local economy which in turn gives back to the people in your community; it creates jobs!
Shopping local is also best for the environment. By buying from a local business you can bypass shipping, saving money all around. It also reduces waste, because reducing shipping eliminates the need for packaging and lowers the amount of single use plastics. Buying from local shops also cuts back on emissions; the ‘footprint’ of your item is smaller, reducing pollution from the decrease in shipping. Lastly, shopping locally also helps you meet and know the people in your area. There are so many talented makers here in the Pacific Northwest, and we love supporting them the best that we can. Shopping local helps your neighbors to pay rent and keep the doors open. It can come at a higher sticker price, but it’s worth it to know that your money is staying in your community- which helps you, too!
This holiday season, and going forward, let’s work hard to make intentional purchases. Make sure to spend your money wisely, supporting the people and places you want to be around for the long haul.