Shopping locally is a gift that keeps on giving. This year, our Shop Local Dream Job is giving one lucky person $1,000 to eat from at least three local restaurants, shop in at least seven different local stores, and get groceries from local mom-and-pop shops for one-week.
This guide isn’t just a starting point for the one applicant we decide to hire—it can serve as a helpful guide for anyone deciding to shop local.
What is a Small Business?
The U.S. Department of State defines a small business as a business that is organized for profit, independently owned, and operates primarily within the U.S., or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy.
Currently, there are roughly 31.7 million small businesses in the United States. Many of the small businesses you love came from humble beginnings, often a business owner’s dream fueled by a passion to start their own brick and mortar (or online) shop or restaurant.
When deciding to shop small, think of your local neighborhood coffee shop or your favorite farmer’s market vendor, and say no to big name brands such as Target, Starbucks and Walmart.
Why is shopping small important?
Shopping and eating local is a great way to give your money back to the community. Since small businesses have ties to the communities they serve, they donate 250% more than large businesses to local causes.
Supporting local business quite literally means funding unique ideas and making innovation possible, all while promoting a place that makes your community unique. For every dollar spent at a local business, an average of $0.67 stays in that business’s community.
The next time you eat at your local pizza shop, consider the many ways you are supporting your community.
Is shopping small good for the environment?
Shopping small is beneficial for the environment.
Small business owners lead the way in including sustainable practices in their business practices, such as packaging, shipping, and sourcing. When products travel over a long distance, a large amount of boxes are used to protect the merchandise. This excessive packaging is a major cause of environmental damage and pollution, making shopping locally the greener option.
Also, since local businesses make more local purchases, products take less time to reach their final destination. Cities with a strong local business community see residents log 26% fewer automobile miles, which helps cut carbon emissions and air pollution.
Are there different kinds of small businesses?
There are several different types of small businesses that can be broken down into three main categories. They include:
- Shopping: Bookstores, record stores, pawn shops, vintage shops, local jewelers, clothing boutiques, etc.
- Eating out: Food area at a farmer’s market, coffee shops, local pizzerias, taco trucks, local juice shops, etc.
- Groceries: Vegetable co-ops, farmer’s markets, local food delivery services, etc.
How does one find a local, small business?
Reading about the many benefits of shopping local probably has you excited to support a small business in your area. If you’re unsure of where to start we recommend doing research beforehand using these three tools.
Social media – check popular food blogs, hashtags, and tourism accounts in your area to see all of the best local businesses to support.
Apps/Subscriptions – apps and subscriptions like Yelp, Google Maps, and DoorDash give a full scale view of businesses in your area. A general search for nearby small businesses can yield hundreds of results.
Ask a friend – finding a local business to support can be as simple as asking a friend for a recommendation. Who knows, they may even tag along with you!
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