We hear it all the time, but it doesn’t register with a lot of people unless you’re in the local business community, or know someone who is.
The definition is obvious, but the real process about what happens when you shop local isn’t always clear to everyone.
To put things in perspective, Let’s create a local shop. We’ll call it Dave’s Things. Dave is the owner. Dave lives in Apex with his wife and two kids. He has 2 employees. One is a student that’s working part-time, and the other is a full time single mom with one child.
First lets talk about Dave. Dave doesn’t punch a clock or work a 40 hr week. Chances are that Dave works closer to 60-70 hrs per week. He probably could make more money working for someone else, but wouldn’t have it any other way. He does it because he loves it.
Every day Dave has someone walk through his door trying to sell him something or asking him to support their cause. Band, chorus, football, cheer, art council, cancer walks, local festivals, you pick it. If he had his way, he would donate to every cause, and support every person that comes through the door. In order to do that though, he has to make a lot of money.
The “things” that Dave sells mostly come from the local community. By selling items for them, he’s helping more people in the community. He’s helping feed “starving artists” so to speak. Many locals don’t have a good way to market their products, and they count on Dave to be able to sell them on their behalf.
The single mom that’s working at Dave’s store is a friend of Dave’s wife. She needs flexible hours, and needs to take time off from time-to-time to spend time with the kids. It’s something that she couldn’t get from a big-box retailer, but something that Dave could help her with since he’s much more flexible.
Shopping local does have another benefit. There is a good chance that the items you buy may be completely unique. It’s your chance to own something that nobody else can have, because it’s not available at the big retailers.
The final reason – it feels good. Pick an evening to stay around town. Stroll through the stores, have a drink, get some dinner and maybe even run into some neighbors.
If it’s not something you normally do, please commit to buy at least one gift this year from a local retailer and have a meal at a local restaurant. You may find it’s a much more pleasant experience, and you will certainly be giving back to your community.