Christmas brings on the busiest shopping season of the year. We’re all busy running around, trying to get those last minute gifts and groceries purchased. Why not consider making your purchases locally? ‘Why?’ you may ask. The answer is, it builds stronger communities.
Local stores, shops and businesses employ local people; your family, friends and neighbours. If they weren’t there, where would teenagers get their first jobs? Local businesses know the value of supporting other local businesses too. They often bring in local products made by local producers and suppliers, like artisan cheese. When you shop locally, your money stays local.
The Rural Oxford Economic Development Corporation’s Bernia Wheaton calls it the ‘multiplier effect’. “Locally spent dollars make an impact,” she says. “For example, if you spend $100 at a local business, a direct impact is made. That money ‘multiplies’ when a percentage will be recirculated in the community. The multiplier effect continues as employees spend their earnings from that original $100.”
Wheaton says the positive effect of shopping locally is enhanced even further when we choose to buy from local independent businesses. Studies show that up to 48 per cent of money spent at independent businesses is then recirculated in the community compared to the 14 per cent recirculated by chain stores.
The common excuse for shopping in larger centres is selection. “Smaller retail stores can’t carry the vast selection of a big box store, but most business owners are happy to help you find what you’re looking for. They will bring it in as a special order, just for you,” says Wheaton.
Local business owners often give back and support local charities, events, sports teams and causes. They are usually the most generous when it comes to support. Have you ever sent a letter or canvassed for donations for a cause near to your heart?
Supporting local businesses and keeping them open keep our towns vibrant. The towns become a place where people want to raise their family or retire. The businesses are close by and there when you need them. For example, in the town of Tavistock , the local grocery store is open when you need that last minute ingredient for Christmas cookies and don’t have time to run to a larger centre.
At South Easthope Mutual, loyalty to the communities we serve is ingrained in our culture. We hire local whenever possible and make company purchases from other local businesses first. Our people volunteer and support community organizations, charities and churches.
This Christmas season, as the shopping days wind down please consider supporting local. Your community businesses will thank you. When we all work together, we all succeed in building stronger communities