Held every November between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday was launched in 2010 to highlight the importance of supporting small businesses and, in turn, local economies. And of course, the cause is quite the worthy one — for a number of reasons.
Consider the following statistics that exhibit the compelling community benefits of shopping locally:
- Studies have suggested that, for every $1 spent at a local business, nearly 70 cents stays in the local community. (Conversely, nearly 60 cents of every dollar spent at a non-local business leaves the local economy.)
- Small businesses provide 250% more support to community nonprofits and local causes than larger businesses do.
- About two-thirds of private-sector jobs in the U.S. are created by independent businesses, helping keep more locals employed in communities everywhere.
But the reasons to shop local go well beyond keeping more money and more jobs in the local economy. Consider these six additional benefits that consumers and communities can leverage when supporting local businesses:
- More unique and/or personalized product offerings — More often than not, larger businesses with a national footprint tend to predominantly carry mass-produced items. The focus here is typically put on creating cost efficiencies — for both the producer and the consumer. Local businesses, on the other hand, are much more likely to sell locally or regionally produced products that are made in smaller batches and are sometimes even handmade. For this reason, smaller businesses tend to shine when it comes to providing more unique offerings — and are especially good places to buy gifts that convey a more personal feel.
- Better customer service — Especially at big box stores, personal attention and strong customer service can be hard to come by for consumers. This is primarily due to larger facility footprints (with more space to cover) and larger crowds than what’s typically found in smaller local businesses, along with staff work schedules created with an eye toward minimizing labor costs. On the other hand, the employees at smaller local businesses are often more connected to/invested in the products and services they offer — and consumers are often even dealing with the owners themselves. As a result, workers at local businesses are often more willing to “go the extra mile” to serve customers and create a positive consumer experience.
- Shorter waits — As mentioned earlier, smaller, locally owned businesses tend to be less crowded with consumers than the larger national chains. As a result, in addition to receiving a higher level of customer service, shoppers at local businesses often spend less time waiting in checkout lines. And beyond time savings, this can lead to a less-stressful shopping experience, along with less hassle for consumers to get what they need from the business.
- A lower environmental impact — Because local businesses are more likely to locally source the goods they sell, the need for long-distance shipping is often greatly reduced or even eliminated. As a result, buying locally can reduce a consumer’s carbon footprint and support more environmental sustainability. And in addition to helping lower pollution, this can also ease traffic congestion on roadways, cut down on the use of natural resources and reduce the potential loss of habitat for wildlife.
- Added local tax revenues — When spending is kept local, it also puts more tax dollars in the local tax coffers. And this, of course, can be used to sustain and improve a range of local amenities and services that are supported by local sales taxes, such as schools, roads, parks and programs that benefit the local community.
- A heightened sense of community — The more that local consumers shop in locally owned stores and procure locally based services, the more they get to know their local merchants and service providers … and vice versa. This can gradually build the kind of rapport between neighbors that results in more smiles, more friendly conversations and more community connections, both in the stores and around town. And eventually, all of this contributes to an elevated sense of community and a heightened awareness of the importance of striving to make the place we all call home a better place — together.
At The Southern Bank, we pride ourselves on offering friendly, personalized service to all of our customers — and that includes providing guidance when you have questions about any of our banking services. To learn more about our Personal Banking services ranging from Personal Checking and Personal Loans to Savings & Money Market, Certificates of Deposit (CDs), Mortgages and more, check out the Personal Banking page on our website or visit one of our local branches for friendly, in-person service with a smile.