With less than a month until many of us are exchanging gifts with loved ones, the team at Economic Development have compiled a helpful reminder about the top 10 reasons to shop local.
“We created this list to help people remember how much power they have when it comes to supporting local business,” said Rosemarie Montgomery, Business Consultant for the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre. “I work with businesses every day who are extremely thankful for their customers because it means that they can pay their bills and feed their family.”
The following are the top 10 reasons why you should shop local:
- Creates jobs and supports families
When you buy from local retailers and producers you are directly helping to keep jobs in the community and food on the table for families across Chatham-Kent. In addition, small local businesses are the heart of the community and the largest employers nationally.
- Keeping expertise local and within reach
While websites such as Google have access to a great amount of knowledge, there is nothing more powerful than working with a local retailer who is a specialist in a product or service. Having access to local expertise can save time, money, and many headaches.
- Provides better customer service
Along the same thread of having access to local expertise, shopping local makes it much easier to work directly with a business owner or employee to resolve any challenges you’re having with a product or service. The value of having an issue dealt with locally is far superior to spending hours on the phone being transferred from department to department.
- Saves on the shipping and no delays in postal delivery
There are many conveniences to shopping online, but one of the most common headaches to purchasing online is the cost and time delays of shipping. Even if things arrive on time, they can sometimes be damaged or require returns which only add to the cost and inconvenience.
- Provides selection and keeps our communities vibrant
Chatham-Kent is rich with a wide variety to businesses providing products and services in both our downtown core’s and in business areas, many of which are just down the street from our homes. There is nothing like the personal touch when it comes to finding just the right gift shopping. Shopping local helps to ensure that a wide variety of options are available and also helps business owners invest in keeping our communities looking strong and vibrant.
- Lets you know the people behind the products
Buying local products and services gives you a chance to make a personal connection with the people behind the business. It is this connection that helps to build stronger communities and is a part of creating a higher quality of life for yourself and others. You can see this when a favourite local business celebrates success or mourn when it’s forced to shut its doors.
- Improves the local economy
From a pure economic perspective, buying local has been proven to ensure that significantly more of the money spent stays in the community. There are studies that show for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remains in the community and goes towards supporting wages, business growth, purchasing from other businesses, and local community initiatives.
- Reduces your carbon footprint
Shopping local provides direct environmental benefits by reducing use of fossil fuels and other greenhouse gas emissions. For example, the more jobs you have in your local community, the less people are going to have to commute which means less traffic and pollution.
- Supports more charities and non-profit organizations
It has been shown that local business owners donate more to local charities and non-profits than non-local owners. You can see this with the strong support for local sports teams, service clubs, and organizations such as the United Way. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community and are more invested in the community’s welfare and future.
- Your opinion matters
By shopping local you are exerting influence with your purchasing choices and “voting with your wallet.” This means that businesses can respond to their customers and ensure that their values and desires are reflected in the products and services offered. Your opinion and influence means a great deal to your local community business owner – because you matter!
There is one more reason to shop local and that is the fact that Chatham-Kent is home to some of the best food in the world. When you look at how much we grow for the world, it is easy to see that you have access to outstanding food that is nutritious, wholesome, and fresh. Plus, the quality of the food is dramatically improved because it reaches your plate sooner as it does not need to travel.
“I am a huge fan of buying from local businesses because I see everyday the difference it makes in the lives of people,” said Moréna McDonald, owner of 519 Events and Promotions. “I am fortunate to have experience selling locally and also to people around the world, and I have to say that the local relationships I’ve made mean a lot to me.”
McDonald added “another reason I love buying local is because we have some amazing Makers in Chatham-Kent that can create customized items. Not only is it custom, but it competitively priced and can even be more affordable.”
“Shopping local does not mean you don’t have the option to shop online,” said Montgomery. “I’ve helped many local businesses establish an online presence that allows customers to buy from them and pickup or have local delivery. It’s the best of both worlds.”
To further promote local business, the Chatham-Kent Small Business Centre is running a Shop Chatham-Kent campaign starting December 1, 2018. The campaign features a curated selection of local business suggestions, time-limited discounts, and business specials all available through the Small Business Centre website at www.cksmallbusiness.ca and social media at #ShopCK.