Choosing to shop with your local businesses instead of the larger chain stores has many benefits, some of which we are sure will surprise you. As this is the case, we thought we would put together 15 of the best reasons why you should choose your local independent business over a large, commercial supplier. We cover everything from how this decision can help improve the economy and environment to how it can also help to increase tourism and local jobs.
The local economy
Local businesses are the backbone of our economy, the epitome of the UK high street and often large tourist attractions. But what you may not know is that shopping at a local business, rather than a large chain, is actually better for the economy of your community. To ensure a strong and sustainable local economy foundation people need to buy locally. Research shows that £10 spent with a local independent shop means up to an additional £50 goes back into the local economy. This is simply because the nearby shop owners, who you are spending your money with, will then put that money back into your local community by going into local pubs and restaurants etc, thus circulating the money and allowing your community to thrive.
Shopping with and investing in local businesses means you can have a very strong and positive effect on the health of the local jobs in your area. Small, local businesses are surprisingly the largest employer of jobs nationally and provide the most local jobs to communities. Not only this, but local employers are more likely to pay a higher average wage than their commercial chain counterparts. Helping to grow the number of jobs in your area makes for a better place to live and work which then creates a healthy economy for the community.
Personality and character
The fantastic thing about independent businesses is that they are run by people, not by boards, stockholders or algorithms. As they are run by local people you will usually find that the business/shops building is in keeping with aesthetic of the area, adding character to the community and a touch of warm, welcoming personality. This natural authenticity will always be more popular than a chain, no matter where in the country.
Customer service and shopping experience
Although many chain businesses do have good customer service, you can’t beat the personal touch of a local owner who knows everyone in the neighbourhood. They can offer you a product that is suitable for you, your house and even your area. Building relationships between the local owner and the local customer goes further than just a purchase. It is also worth remembering that local shops stock an inventory based on their own customer’s choices rather than national fashion trends. This is so you can find what you want rather than finding what they want to sell you.
This one might surprise you, but choosing a local company over a chain can actually have a positive impact on the environment. This is because the majority of local companies are found on the high street and are within walking distance, rather than a drive away to the nearest large shopping centre. If more people chose to pop to the local high street rather than driving to the superstores, this would considerably reduce air pollution, reduce traffic and improve the quality of the nation’s high streets.
Originality and individuality
In a world that is becoming increasingly dominated by chain stores, which have been designed to look the same, independent businesses bring much-needed originality and variety into communities. They can be a real breath of fresh air into an area populated by generic stores and companies.
Through supporting your local businesses, you are actually helping to support local entrepreneurs who once may not have had a chance of getting their company started. Through more people choosing the smaller, local option over the larger chain businesses it is allowing more entrepreneurs to get their foot in the door, thus making for a very healthy economy.
Help to create the identity
Some local businesses will actually help shape the identity of the area. A high street filled with unique, vibrant and colourful shops will attract more tourism and help to make the community a more popular and financially healthier area in which to live and work. There are many places around the UK that are known for exactly this. Places such as Camden, Manchester and Glasgow are all full of local companies thriving thanks to a healthy view of independent businesses.
Local business for local charities
Buying locally means that you are actually supporting your own community in more ways than you think. This is because many local businesses support local charities that are particularly relevant to that area, and by shopping locally you are helping to increase the number of local donations. Of course, large chain companies do support charities, and there is no right or wrong one to support, but if you would prefer to help support a local one then buying locally is a great way of doing this.
The reason local companies have such great and competitive prices is purely thanks to healthy competition. This, of course, goes for all types of companies. A marketplace of thousands of small businesses is the most reliable way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
Supporting your local business over their larger, international rivals is somewhat of a British tradition. Unlike other countries, who have allowed the chain stores and companies to completely take over their high streets, Britain has always tried to keep the focus on local businesses. We can be a stubborn country who like to keep their traditions going for as long as possible, and in this case we are right to do so.
Without the creativity and innovative nature of local businesses and entrepreneurs, industries wouldn’t advance at the rate that they are. Take for instance the coffee shop. Currently at the peak of popularity, chain coffee shops are actually following in the footsteps of independent coffee shops right now. They are doing what they can to blend more into the community and seem more authentic. This is happening all over Great Britain and is all thanks to the innovation of local businesses.
Local government incentives
Local governments often provide tax incentives to entice nationally-owned companies to their communities. However, if these corporations are paying less in taxes it means that local residents are paying more. But, when you buy from local companies it lessens individual tax burdens and creates up to 75 per cent more tax revenues for your community.
If things go wrong
It’s important to know that if anything was to go wrong you have a local company to go to, someone to talk face to face with. Large commercial companies will often provide you with a phone number for their customer service team, which is often not in the UK, and make you wait for what seems like an eternity until you get to speak to someone. This simply is not the case with a local business. They will often prefer to meet up face to face, rather than on the phone, and find out exactly how they can help fix the problem.