Why It’s Important to Shop Local: Community Benefits

When people Shop Local, they support more than just their own convenient purchase. Buying locally stimulates the community’s economy, enriches civic identity, attracts visitors, benefits local charities and public services, stimulates innovation, and helps the environment.

There are many reasons why supporting a Shop Local movement is valuable to businesses, residents, and economic development organizations:

  • Economic Impact
  • Destination Spending
  • Public Services
  • Real Estate
  • Community Identity
  • Supporting Innovation
  • Distinctive Offerings
  • Personal Attention
  • Environmental Impact
  • Charitable Giving
  • Local Pride

Economic Impact

Shopping with a locally owned businesses generates $68 of local economic activity for every $100 spent with them. Meanwhile, spending $100 with a non-local business such as a national chain only generates $43. Spending your money with local small businesses keeps more of your money recirculating in your local economy. (Source: Civic Economics)

Destination Spending

Big box and national retail stores provide the same products everywhere. Visitors are only willing to travel for special shopping experiences that they can’t get elsewhere. What makes your community’s shopping outing special is the locally owned small businesses that provide local wares and distinctive offerings. Being a destination brings in external spending that stays in the community.

Public Services

When you buy locally, the small business you’re buying from certainly benefits, but there are also community benefits to residents and other local businesses too. Buying locally generates taxes that support the community’s schools, libraries, police, fire department, roads, and infrastructure. Shop Local helps make your residents educated, safer, and supported.

Real Estate

Small businesses create proportionally greater economic output from their storefronts. Local businesses generate 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail stores. The real estate in your community has value and you only have so much; small businesses are more efficient at maximizing its economic output. (Source: Huff Post, Andersonville Study of Retail Economics)

Community Identity

The unique products and services that locally owned businesses provide deliver a distinctive experience that makes a locally community special. Your locally owned businesses are something to be proud of because they create the unique economic fabric of your community’s commerce and culture.

Supporting Innovation

Local businesses exist because an entrepreneur had an idea for how to do business differently. Successful small businesses can turn into large businesses and buying from a local business might turn it into the next big thing that is headquartered in your community. Every big business started as a small business with an innovative idea.

Distinctive Offerings

Local businesses cater to local tastes. These small businesses are designed to deliver based on an intimate understanding of their customers’ needs. Not every place is the same, nor are the needs of the people that shop there. Local businesses recognize this, whereas national chains have the same, standardized product choices everywhere. 61% of consumers shop at local businesses because they want access to a unique product selection. It is the top reason why they choose a small business over a large chain. (Source: Fundera)

Personal Attention

Independent businesses are run by your neighbors, not a board of directors or stockholders from far away. Local entrepreneurs get to know you because this isn’t just a temporary job for them; it’s their livelihood and future. It’s in their personal interest to know customers and their needs. They are also more likely to share their stories of how they create their business and appreciate how customers helped it become successful.


When makers and manufacturers in your community sell their products locally, it reduces environmental impact. Products that are packaged for shipping often require additional packaging to survive their long journey. Extra packaging can end up in landfills or the ocean, causing environmental damage. Chain stores or online purchases also require significant effort to get products to you, including trucking products across the country, which burn fossil fuels and contributes to pollution.

Also, whereas an online or big box store might sell you a prepackaged set of numerous nails you might never even use, at a local hardware store you can pick out just the nails you need from a bin and then put them in a simple paper bag, or a bag you brought yourself.

Charitable Giving

Local small businesses donate 250% more than large businesses to local non-profits and community causes. Most small businesses plan on donating to charity. When you shop at a local business not only are you putting money back in your local economy, but you are also putting it back into local charitable causes too. You see this across the spectrum from your local youth baseball jerseys, soup kitchens, and community festivals being subsidized and sponsored by local businesses. (Source: SCORE)

Local Pride

57% of Americans support shopping at small businesses to keep their money local. In addition, 38% of shoppers want to support their community and local creators. 28% Shop Local for better service and 19% to help local non-profits. The way people support local businesses varies by age. 45% of Millennials and Gen X consumers are most likely to support local businesses by shopping online; whereas 56 percent of the people who shop in-store at small businesses are mostly over the age of 45. (Source: Intuit Mint)

Supporting a Shop Local Strategy by Promoting Locally Owned Businesses

Local civic institutions such as a city hall, chamber of commerce, or economic development organization can enable a Shop Local strategy by helping residents and visitors search and find locally owned businesses by implementing SizeUp Shop Local software on their websites. It provides a simple and fast way to search exclusively for locally owned businesses on the government, chamber, or EDO’s own website.

Supporting a Shop Local strategy is an investment in small businesses, residents, jobs, non-profits, community culture, entrepreneurship, innovation, environmentalism, and local services. It is an impactful way of reinvesting local dollars to maximize a positive community impact.

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