Why Shop Local?
Want a stronger sense of community in your city or town? Small local businesses care about you. You’re not a statistic or a demographic. You’re a neighbor and potential friend and along with thousands of others like you, you make our town a great place to live. Did I mention yet that local businesses know your name? That’s a big thing.
Small, local businesses support local charities more than twice as much as big business. Look who’s donating door prizes, giving raffle items, helping local organizations and even individuals raise funds needed for local use.
Local businesses respond, up close and personal, to the physical and emotional needs of the people in our community. Schools, churches, shelters and the food bank.
Local businesses are one-of-a-kind and give our town it’s distinctive character. When you are in a big box store, you could be anywhere. Don’t you want to live somewhere rather than anywhere? Travelers seek out destinations that give them the sense of being someplace not just anyplace.
Local businesses can be counted on to offset production costs for festivals and big events, with sponsorship and advertising purchases. Can you imagine your town without the art museum? Parades? Outdoor symphonies and Theater-in-the-parks? These are almost always sponsored by local businesses.
Downtown local businesses set up shop in the city center, thus using less infrastructure and contributing less to pollution, habitat-loss and sprawl. Small businesses make use of existing buildings and space, rather than using more resources to build new.
Small shops often offer free refreshments for visitors. We put out ice cold water and cookies in summer. Winter, we offer hot coffee and snacks inside. Lots of other local businesses know your names and make you feel at home.
Local businesses create community with their own events. Do you love Art Walks, First Fridays, the Wedding Stroll, jazz performances, parades and Alive at Five? Downtown events, things like that? That’s downtown Helena businesses saying “howdy, come say hello” to you!
Local shops and restaurants are the ones making downtown vibrant and the more you shop downtown, the more they will prosper and in turn this will make our city more attractive to other businesses, breweries, restaurants and cultural organizations. This gives you more choices, provides more jobs and makes our city stronger.
Local businesses save their customers time simply by being close. No wasted trips, and local shops answer their phones personally for a quick and pleasant interaction free of “press one for..” And, when you’re shopping for gifts, it saves you time to take local merchants up on their offer of free gift wrapping.
Local businesses make our community a more attractive place with everything from window boxes of petunias to doggie fountains.
Waaay better customer service. Small businesses tend to provide more personal, memorable and friendly services. How about personalized shopping? When you come into a local shop, the owner and employees graciously take lots of time with you, to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. They’ll even go the extra mile and recommend other local shops where you can find that elusive item.
Local stores contribute more to the local economy, making everything from fire services, public libraries, schools and local events possible. Economic impact studies show that, on average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses is recirculated locally, compared to less than 14% of purchases at chain stores.
According to the SBA, since 1990, big businesses eliminated 4 million jobs, while small locally owned businesses added 8 million jobs. The more you shop locally, the more (usually higher paid) job opportunities you can help local businesses provide.