Why I Shop Local & Support Small Business
Over the past few years, I’ve become more and more of a shop local enthusiast.
As we’re gearing up for Small Business Saturday (come see me at Sociable!), I thought I’d share some of the reasons why I support small business.
Don’t feel like reading? I made a video of the below information!
1. Small business is more personal
The items and services provided by small businesses are usually carefully selected, created, and designed by the business owner. If I’ve had a hesitation about a purchase, I ask questions to the business owner specifically about their process, the materials, the sourcing, etc. A simple question can reveal a fun story or unique fact about the item I’m considering buying. Also, my experience has been that most small businesses genuinely care about my needs. If I voice that I’m looking for an item for my mom, the owner usually has follow up questions to get to know my mom’s personality and then recommends items or services they provide that might be something my mom would enjoy.
2. Small businesses have the most creative and diverse products
A great bonus about shopping small is most small businesses embrace a “small-batch” way of life. This means that they can use techniques, processes, ingredients, etc that might not be seen as cost-effecient in mass production. This also means that what you’re getting is limited and exclusive.
3. Small business makes our community unique
The shop local scene in Minneapolis is totally different than the shop local scene in Denver, Milwaukee or Seattle. Each area has it’s own quirks, inside jokes, or events specific to their community. By supporting small business, you also support what makes your community unique.
4. You support local jobs & talented artisans
Instead of putting money into the pockets of big enterprises, why not put your money back into your community? When you shop local, you’re supporting local jobs and helping that artist/designer/maker pay bills and support their family.
5. Small businesses are more likely to “do good” for the planet, people, and the local community
Again, this is based on my own experiences, but most companies I’ve shopped with in Minnesota somehow give back. Some donate a percentage to local non-profits, others plant trees or take big leaps to off-set their carbon footprint, and many are conscious about the materials they’re buying for their items and make sure they are eco-friendly and endorse fair wage/labor standards.
So how can you support small business?
#1 Buy Local
It might sound obvious, but a great way to support local is to put your money into local businesses. If you need help getting started with shopping the MSP scene, I’ve started a list on my blog of places that I fan girl over.
#2 Sign Up for Newsletters
If money is tight, you can show your support by signing up for a business’ newsletter. Email is still the number one way a small company can spread the word about their latest products, behind the scenes, and local events. So unsubscribe from all those spammy Big Box company emails and fill your Inbox with local love.
#3 Join Loyalty Programs
Many small Brick&Mortar businesses will have some sort of loyalty program. If there’s a place you consistently enjoy, ask an employee if there is a loyalty program. Some may offer punch cards, discounts for referrals, or reward points for money spent in store.
#4 Be Vocal
Did someone compliment you on the new necklace you bought? Instead of just saying, “thank you,” tell them what local artisan you got it from. If you have a pleasant encounter with a local business, share that moment with your friends, co-workers, or family.
#5 Embrace Social Media
Take #4 one step further and snap an image of your latest experience or item from a local business and share it on your social accounts. Tag the business in your caption or the photo, so that others can easily check out the company you are loving. Word of Mouth is one of the most beneficial ways for a small business to grow their customer base, so don’t be shy! Also, following your favorite locals on social is a great way to stay in the loop on their happenings.