Growing up in a small Rhode Island suburban town, my parents always stressed the benefits of shopping local on “Main Street”, while everyone else were running off to the mall or the “big box” stores. I figure I must have been a teenager in high school when I asked my mom why we went to the smaller local stores and shopped on “Main Street”.
My mom reminded me that her father, my grandfather, Paul Goldfine, had made his living on “Main Street” and supporting local business owners was near and dear to her. He was in the jewelry business as Goldfine Jewelers on Main Street in Woonsocket, RI for as long as my mom could remember. However, as the big retailers moved into New England, he was being priced out of business and needed to change his focus to survive. The focus changed from the retail storefront to that of a distributor to other small jewelry retailers throughout New England. I can remember him saying “big business” and shaking his head as a commercial for one of the big retailers would come on the TV.
My other grandfather, Sol Kamin, was also a local merchant as he was an early adopter in the electronics industry. He opened a TV shop first in Springfield, MA and then moved his store and family to Providence, RI. He too took a big hit as the national and regional retailers spread throughout the area and made the necessary changes. He evolved into the Eastern Sales Representative for Curtis Mathis TVs. He sold to other local electronics stores from Maine on south. I recall being the first family that I knew that had a VCR, if you know what that is, in their home. It was the size of a small car at that point and time.
My father left the “Corporate World” to start his own CPA practice which was 100% made up of small local businesses. In addition, my father-in-law also left “corporate” to sell bingo and janitorial supplies to small businesses throughout Massachusetts. Buying and shopping local is a cause that I personally identify with throughout my life. It is near and dear to my heart.
Let’s explore the many benefits of shopping local.
According to Entrepreneur.com, their are 6 significant benefits of shopping local.
When you buy from local farmers, you have access to fruits and vegetables that you know are chemical free, as well as grass-fed meats, fresh eggs, and dairy from cows that feast on local green grass each day.
Shopping local ensures that the money stays in the community. For every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the city while only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer according to business experts.
When you personally know the people behind the business where you’re buying local products and services, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Along with the rest of the community, you celebrate when a favorite local business succeeds, and you mourn when it’s forced to shut its doors.
Local businesses give a community its flavor. Towns across America have similar chain restaurants, grocery and department stores but that diner down the street where you have breakfast every Saturday morning is one-of-a-kind.
When you shop local, the business owner is usually directly connected to every employee in the store. That leads to a personal approach that often means any problem you have is taken seriously.
Having the owner nearby also means that owner personally knows his customers. He knows the products you buy or the services you request on a regular basis and can tailor services to make your experience even better.