Shop local, shop small, support small businesses. Many of us know small business owners—or are business owners ourselves. We know that buying from our friends’ and families’ businesses matters to them. Local businesses, though, also matter beyond individual livelihoods. They have a far-reaching economic impact and contribute to community vibrancy.
Here’s our roundup of the top 10 ways local businesses build stronger communities.
#1. Economic recovery
The pandemic has affected the economy—and small businesses have, in many cases, taken a harder hit than national companies. Those that survived the disruption of the last two years did so because of loyal customers, innovative thinking, and the commitment of their leaders and employees. Now, small businesses and community leaders can work together to bolster economic recovery. Networking within organizations like GOA Regional Business Association can help to promote collaboration.
#2. Local character
What gives communities character? Hint: it’s not Walmart and Lowe’s, which can be located anywhere. It’s the small and independent businesses like local restaurants, boutiques, and more. These companies help to make communities distinctive, which can attract new residents, other businesses, and even national recognition.
#3. Strengthening communities
Local businesses can contribute to revitalizing communities. In some cases, local businesses pioneer the transformation of troubled neighborhoods. Even in prosperous communities, local business owners can come together to make greater change than they could individually. Examples range from the improvement of business districts with benches, pedestrian walkways, and more to events like holiday twilight shopping, sidewalk sales, and much more.
#4. Local economic impact
Research by nonprofit organization Sustainable Connections has put numbers behind the local economic impact of shopping at local businesses. For every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 recirculates and remains in the local economy—compared to just $43 when spent at a national retailer or chain. What’s more, local businesses and local consumers are more invested in a community’s future, and they tend to be more loyal.
#5. Job creation
Since the 1970s, small businesses have been the major drivers of job creation, adding as many as 1.5 million jobs annually. These jobs can bring new opportunities for community residents or attract new talent to a community.
Entrepreneurship fuels innovation and helps open the door to prosperity. Local businesses can often offer opportunities with greater potential—and they often go to local residents, amplifying economic impact by giving community members financial security and stability.
Shopping local doesn’t only help the local economy. It’s also more sustainable. Thriving local business districts make communities more walkable, which can reduce automobile mileage by up to 25%--and lessen its impact on the environment.
#8. Community connections
Local businesses create a web of connections between neighbors. According to research by the Bank of America following the Great Recession, the majority of a local business’s customers come from the local community.
#9. Better service
We’ve all been on the giving or receiving end of poor customer service. When you live in the same community as your customers, though, it’s easier to be on your best behavior. Many local businesses go above and beyond in serving customers. Or their employees might have an extra layer of knowledge about the business’s products and services.
#10. Giving back
According to Sustainable Connections, small businesses give back at 2.5 times the rate of large, national chains. These donations support local nonprofits, events, teams, and charitable causes—and, because of community connections, generate greater community pride.
People do business with people they know—and when they do, it helps our communities. When you’re ready to think bigger about small business, local economic impact, and community vibrancy, GOA Regional Business Association is here to help. For over 40 years, GOA Regional Business Association has been providing members with unique business and personal development through networking, educational, and marketing opportunities. We’re a resource for your local business.