The importance of supporting local businesses has been ingrained in me ever since I was a little girl. I grew up going to my hometown’s Cheers-like bar and grill once a week for kids eat free night. I spent the afternoons after school on the steps of the local bookstore, eagerly paging through novel after novel. I got antsy on our trips to the local chocolate shop as my ice cream melted down my hand because my dad spent so much time chatting with the owner.
Local businesses, and the operators and patrons of them, have been integral to my life for as long as I remember, and they are a huge part of how I identify myself as an adult. Here are a few reasons why you should make it a priority to get out there and get to know your community and the businesses that make it unique.
To Create Connections With People
There’s something about walking into a store and being greeted with a smile, a hug, and a genuine inquiry about how your life has been since you last visited. Every time I go to The Purple Tree, a family owned business focused on goods that give back to the community and those in need, that’s the experience I have. If I ever need a gift, I make sure to head down to visit Sarah, the Purple Tree’s lovely owner. If I know there’s a book I need for class or pleasure, I always check with Brian, the owner of my local bookstore, Chapter Two , to see if he has it before looking elsewhere.That’s the beauty of local businesses: getting to know the people who devote their lives to serving local communities. I feel lucky to personally know most of the stores that I frequent, and I always look forward to catching up with my local business owners every time I stop in.
To Support and Sustain Communities
It’s no secret that spending your money at locally owned, independent businesses fuels the economy of your community, which not only enriches your life as a patron of local establishments, but it also enriches the lives of those around you. By turning to your local businesses first when it comes to buying things like food, clothing, services, etc., you are helping to create and sustain the jobs of your fellow community members. Yes, it might be more convenient to stop by Walmart to grab your groceries, but you’d be surprised how much more satisfying it is to shop at your local farmer’s market and independently owned grocery store. You have the ability to further ensure the security and happiness of the proprietors’ families, as well as your own. I am aware that keeping your purchases one hundred percent local isn’t entirely realistic for everybody, but this give-take relationship with local establishments makes a meaningful difference if you can make it happen as often as possible.
To Celebrate and Maintain Character
Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m going to go shopping or go out to eat, nine times out of ten I would rather go to a place riddled with character than somewhere you can find in any town across the country. It’s a nice feeling when you walk into a neighborhood cafe that has picture frames of local landmarks littering the walls, or a bar and restaurant that boasts local brews on their tap list. It’s always a treat to see what new menu item my friend’s father, a chef of one of my favorite restaurants in town, has come up with this time. It’s wonderful to reminisce about the hundreds of coloring pages I had pasted along the walls of the town’s oldest bar growing up. There’s something to be said for celebrating the character and creativity that comes with local business, and our support is what sustains those things. So next time you hear about a new locally owned business starting up, be one of the first ones to investigate the magical developments you help create through your support.
Getting to know my community and the local culture that makes it so great has made me further appreciate my roots. I feel incredibly lucky to come from a place that wholeheartedly embraces and supports its local businesses and the people who make them special.