A community is a very important part of our lives, and like anything else worthwhile, it needs support, help, and well, life from its members.
Small Business is a key part of every community in Canada, and in fact, forms the backbone of the country's economy. All members of the typical small business community work hard to provide goods and services to their customers in any given area. They are also supporters of various organizations within their local community, giving both time and money to support many important causes. They are a major part of any community's strength and identity.
Where Does Your Money Go?
Small businesses rely on the community for their livelihood. With a few exceptions (tourism), their revenues come from the people within their community. Each small business operator must decide how much he or she needs to live, reinvest in the business, and yes, donate to important community causes.
This means that a portion of your local shopping dollars will end up helping others. That should be significant consideration for many of us who see ourselves as supportive and/or active members of our communities.
Being Small - A Bonus!
Never before has there been so much available to so many, with such a variety of choices. It is positively staggering to think about how many different ways there are to purchase things these days. Online, big box stores, specialty shops, mega-malls, large department stores, and the list goes on and on. We are living in a "consumer & information age" and all of us have instant access to where to go to buy something, how much it will cost, and much more.
Are You Really Saving Money?
Sometimes, we tend to skirt around common sense in our buying decisions, especially when it comes to getting "the newest" item available. It's one of those "Kindly refrain from clouding the issue with facts" situations...and it happens to all of us! A good example might be this: Jumping in the car to drive an hour or two to save $40 on an item, but overlooking the true cost of the item...things like gasoline, wear & tear on the vehicle, cost of lunches or snacks, and so on. The true PRICE of the item might go up substantially, if ALL the costs were taken into consideration.
You should also remember that the time you spend on the shopping spree might otherwise be used for doing something else in your life...after all, your time is worth something, isn't it?
By now, you can see that there are at least two good reasons for considering a local merchant for any size purchase: Community support and possible cost savings on out of town shopping trips. Any cost savings have a direct impact on your wallet, and the community aspect is an "indirect" impact, but an important one for many of us.
It's Your Decision
That is not to say that anyone should feel "shamed" into shopping locally. Instead, perhaps it would be wiser to "consider" a local purchase, but making sure you consider the whole set of benefits, or to put it another way, the "BIG PICTURE."
Get Your Money's Worth!
Every merchant has a responsibility to deliver quality products and levels of service, and to do it at a fair price. If they don't strive to do that, you certainly have the ability to ask yourself if they want or even deserve your business. There is no question that small local businesses have a great advantage in the "service" area - they should know their customers' needs better than any big box store, and they should be able to meet those needs better than most competitors.