In the age of e-commerce giants like Amazon, it's easy to believe that shopping small means only buying local, every single time. However, this viewpoint does not take into consideration the varied needs of consumers and the diverse range of products available today. The good news? Supporting local businesses does not mean you must forgo all corporations and big box stores. The key is balance and a conscientious effort to incorporate local purchases into your regular spending habits.
First and foremost, small businesses play an indispensable role in America's economic fabric. As reported by the US Chamber of Commerce, there are a staggering 33.2 million small businesses in the US. These businesses make up a whopping 99.9% of all American enterprises. Not only have they been a catalyst for job creation, accounting for 63% of the new jobs from 1995 to 2021, but they also contribute significantly to the nation's exports and GDP. With 97.3% of all exporters being small businesses and contributing 32.6% of the known export value, it's evident that the roots of American enterprise run deep and local.
Yet, it isn't just about the numbers. Small businesses, at their core, are about community. They represent the heart and soul of neighborhoods, and their success often translates into direct benefits for the community. When we support them, they give back, creating a cycle of positive impact. The US Chamber of Commerce shares that many of these businesses actively engage with their communities, from encouraging employees to shop local to donating to charities and sponsoring local events.
But what does all this mean for the average consumer? It means that even if one occasionally swaps out an Amazon or Starbucks purchase for something from a local store, it creates a ripple effect. Every dollar spent in a local business recirculates within the community, supporting local jobs, fostering entrepreneurship, and even possibly aiding charitable causes. By making a conscious choice to redirect a portion of one's spending to local establishments, we can ensure the sustainability and growth of these vital community anchors.
For instance, consider a scenario where a consumer usually buys their coffee from Amazon. By simply opting to buy their coffee beans once a month from a local roaster, they not only get to experience diverse flavors and potentially better quality but also contribute to the economic well-being of a local entrepreneur.
The surge of new business applications in 2021 and 2022, as pointed out by the US Chamber of Commerce, indicates that entrepreneurship is flourishing. However, these businesses need community support to thrive in the long run.
To reiterate, this doesn't mean one must abandon corporations and big box stores. These businesses offer convenience, variety, and sometimes more affordable options that cannot be ignored. But adding a slight local twist to you shopping habits can be both beneficial and fulfilling, while not disrupting your entire routine.
Embracing a blended approach, incorporating local business when you can, to shopping—where big box meets local—can lead to richer experiences, more vibrant communities, and a strengthened local economy. Even the occasional decision to 'shop small' can leave a lasting imprint on the community's heart and soul.