Buying locally and supporting your community has always been important to me. However, now that I live in a smaller community in the beautiful North Georgia Mountains, it appeals to me even more. I have been so impressed by how much people want to help their neighbors in the community succeed. When this happens, we all succeed: us as individuals and the community. This is important in larger towns also, however, it has become even more evident to me now for small town America to make this a priority.
Many people probably have their own opinions as to why this is important. I am going to list five benefits of buying locally that stand out to me.
1. Creates More Jobs This may seem like a “no brainer”, however I think a lot of people don’t realize this. Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community provide the most jobs to residents. The more support we give the local business, the more people will need to be hired.
2. Get Better Service – This is my own personal opinion but I have truly noticed a difference with this. When I have gone to a store that is locally owned, generally the people are friendlier and eager to help me. When I go to Walmart, I am scrambling for someone to please answer a question for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Walmart, but the service in the local establishments usually have a much bigger vested interest in making sure you are happy and get what you came for. They also generally hire people that live or are familiar with the community and take extra time to get to know the product and the customer.
3. Buying Local – Benefits Me Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms .All of this in turn helps the community thrive in a much greater degree. Many times buying local also means saving gas money on driving to a mall area, especially if you live in the Mountain region and a mall is at least 45 minutes away. Plus, the quality you receive on food for example, straight from the farmers market has not been in a truck for four days waiting to get to a store but rather has been freshly picked.
4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally they can set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing in another city. This generally means contributing less to, congestion, gas consumption and pollution.
5. Keeps A Community Unique: Where we shop, eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of your community. Tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust.
These are just a few reasons that stand out to me why buying local is important. I love how Blue Ridge Georgia, the place my family now calls our new home, encourages this by having farmer market Saturdays where you see local farmers and vendors set up to sell things in their community. Also, when I shop or go to a restaurant, they generally refer me directly to another place in the community that I may like too. I would love to hear any opinions you may have on this as well.