Why Shopping Local Is A No-Brainer

The national economy kicks into high gear around this time of year. And it’s around this time of year that we like to remind everyone why shopping locally is so important and why shopping local is mission critical for CAMEO.

It is better for the local economy. Small business owners tend to spend the money they earn within the community where they operate. Whether it’s buying supplies for their business or doing their own personal shopping, chances are the money you spend at your local eatery or beauty salon will benefit you or someone you know. A paper by Civic Economics found that for every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 stays in your community, while only $43 will stay if you shop at a chain store. A 2013 study conducted by Anil Rupasingha of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta concluded that counties with a larger share of local small businesses have lower poverty rates, faster employment growth, and stronger per capita income growth

It makes your taxes work more efficiently. Your sales taxes will stay local, which benefits schools, police and fire departments, and other crucial services. An analysis by the Government Finance Review discovered that a community earns $287 in property taxes per acre from a mid-rise business district, compared to only $7 from big-box retail stores. On top of that, your taxes are spent more efficiently, since small businesses require fewer public services and are less of a burden on local infrastructure in comparison to large department stores. 

It helps create better jobs. As their businesses grow, local entrepreneurs hire more people to meet the demand. More often than not, these jobs are given to local residents, allowing them to work near their homes and avoid long commutes to urban areas. Aside from the higher quality of life that working close to home affords, small businesses often offer higher salaries than large retailers, who are infamous for skimping on workers’ wages. And despite common perception, small business owners are better job creators. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance found that local retailers employ 47 people for every $10 million in revenue, while online giant Amazon employs only 19 people per $10 million in revenue.

It keeps the community safe and thriving. When you spend your time and money in your own neighborhood, you get to know the people around you. A tight-knit community of people who look out for each other is better equipped to make choices that benefit everyone. Your property values will go up, as lively shopping areas are considered a real-estate advantage. Local business owners also tend to give back to their communities in ways that large companies do not. 2013 CAMEO Faces of Entrepreneurship winners Jorge and Oscar Flores, owners of Don Polvoron Bakery, offer confectionery internships to local students and donate bread to their neighborhood churches. Every community has a similar story to tell about their local business owners.

It is better for your health and the environment. When you walk to the coffee shop instead of driving, you are saving energy and reducing your carbon footprint. A 2005 study found that people in neighborhoods with the most local businesses logged 26 percent fewer automobile miles than those in communities with few local stores. They were also more likely to use public transport to go to work. And a paper by the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society discovered that residents in areas with a greater concentration of local businesses have better health outcomes than those with fewer small businesses.

Given all these benefits, shopping local is a no-brainer! Many CAMEO members offer directories of local shops and businesses in their areas for us to visit and support. We will be updating this list throughout the holiday season, and if you have a guide or event to share, please send it to Daniela: dfernandezulen@microbiz.org.

And last but not least! Remember that November 24 is Small Business Saturday. Make sure to let your clients know about American Express’ Shop Small Studio, where they can find a host of customizable marketing materials to promote their business throughout the month. They also have Spanish-language materials as well as resources for nonprofits that support small businesses.