Think Big, Shop Small: How Buying Local Helps Our Economy

Small businesses put everything on the line to make our communities a more vibrant place to live – even when it means not having enough food to put on their own tables.

Without the safety net of generational family wealth, private investors, and millionaire CEOs behind them like their national chain counterparts, our local shops and businesses stand to suffer when the economy takes a turn.

As we’ve seen with COVID-19, Canadian small businesses have racked up tens and thousands of dollars in long-term debt.

They’ve been forced to make heartbreaking decisions to let go of staff who have long become family.

And worse, several businesses have closed the doors on their dreams for good.

Now, more than ever, as we step out of our pandemic bubbles and begin re-emerging back into society, we have to make local shops and businesses our first destination and keep them top of mind whenever we’re craving a hearty meal or a new place to reconnect with friends.

Buying local is about much more than just feeling good. It’s about the ripple effects it causes when you put your money where your heart is. The impact of buying local has far-reaching economic benefits that can be quantified beyond a single purchasing decision.

Here are some of the ways that shopping local makes our economies go round.

You create good jobs and encourage local entrepreneurship

Small business is big in Canada.

One look around your city’s most popular neighbourhoods will tell you just how much local shops drive the economic activity in your community.

Whether you had your first job at a local pizza joint, know a family member or friend who runs a hair salon, or have turned your own passion project into a full-scale business, we’ve all experienced in some shape or form, a taste of the small business life.

So it should come as no surprise that local businesses employ 58.9 million Canadians. To put that into perspective, this means they create two out of every three jobs in the country.

And better yet, a notable chunk of that employment pool is occupied by women-owned businesses. In 2017, female founders made up 15.6% of Canada’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

So whenever you spend your hard-earned money at a local cafe, restaurant, or boutique – remember that you’re fueling the engine to our economic success and empowering entrepreneurs to chase after their biggest life ambitions.

Together, these businesses create stability in the workforce and economy and give local workers valuable stories and experiences to tell in their community.

You recirculate money back into the community

Did you know that for every $100 you spend at a local business, about $68 remains local?

While big-box stores boast more affordable prices and convenience, local options ultimately fare better for the wealth of our economy simply because small businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar they make.

What gives them their superpower is that they create locally owned supply chains and invest in local employees, which strengthens our economy and allows us to become more self-sufficient, rather than relying on imports.

Not to mention, small businesses create a stronger tax base and, in turn, a better use of public services. The same can’t be said for national chains, which show about a 14% return in revenue back into the local economy.

When we buy local, we keep unique stores open. The money we spend goes directly back into a family business’ hands or dinner table. It doesn’t get lost in some elaborate or unnamed headquarters far away.

You stimulate charitable contributions and local prosperity

Have you ever noticed the camaraderie between local businesses in your city?

It may be as simple as resharing a fellow restaurant owner’s social media post or as collaborative as participating in a city-wide festival or market. Whatever it may be, it’s no fluke that small business owners know each other by name.

That’s because they share a unified vision to create a meaningful community, and part of that entails being good neighbours and fostering interconnected relationships. Local businesses are more likely to invest in their people, join local fundraisers, and run campaigns that benefit their community than their national counterparts.

In fact, small businesses donate 250% more to local causes than large corporations. Giving back on this scale not only fuels our economic health but incentivizes local business owners and consumers to be part of the action.

Chances are, you’ve probably encountered a local shop that joins forces with a food bank, homeless shelter, or a slew of other charities to donate a portion of their proceeds to support causes close to home.

You get more choice as a consumer

Unlike national chains, local businesses are uniquely positioned to tailor their products and services to meet consumers’ ever-changing needs and interests. This is where they can use their small customer base to their advantage and create their it factor.

From influencing product packaging to adding new menu items or reviving discontinued products, local businesses empower consumers to weigh in on their business decisions so they can provide higher-quality customer experiences.

It’s not likely that you’ll find a whole street of local businesses that all look and feel the same. And it’s this exact ability to diversify products and services at the local level that stirs rampant economic activity.

Imagine finding personalized gifts for your friends and family or one-of-a-kind items that you genuinely can’t get anywhere else–that’s what gives local shops their pull.

Local businesses create a hometown advantage

There’s no place like home.

Local businesses inject distinctive character, vibrancy, and liveliness into our neighbourhood streets, making our cities truly a home worth investing in.

When a community is rich with small business activity, it increases our quality of life, drives economic prosperity, and offers us exciting experiences at every corner to support our friends, family, and neighbours to achieve their dreams.

So how can you support the local economy?

There are many ways to support local businesses, and it can be as simple as shopping at your local grocer rather than a big box store. But if you want to go beyond just replacing your weekly cart of groceries, check out Locate Local.

We’re a socially driven marketplace and community that matches your interests and values with local vendors in your city so you can make a real impact on the businesses you love. Join our waitlist to be the first to connect with local vendors on what matters to you most.