It’s Black Friday – the day that now follows Brown Thursday (when many classless big box merchants have decided to totally steal Thanksgiving from their employees). As we live here in our wonderful islands, some among us are taking advantage of the holiday weekend to (gasp!) travel to the mainland and get some shopping done!
They don’t realize that they would be so much better off (in so many ways) shopping local. Shopping at a locally owned business only makes total sense. The reasons presented here show how money spent at local Keys businesses is reinvested in your community. This money creates opportunity and helps our island community maintain its unique appeal.
1. Shopping local creates jobs. Shops in our islands create local employment and self-employment. These people in turn spend their hard-earned money right here in the local community.
2. Local independent shops invest more in our communities. Local businesses are proportionately more generous in their support of local charities, schools and community events. Supporting local shops means helping them have a real positive financial impact on our community.
3. Local shops sell a wide range of great products at affordable prices. Many people always think that the mainland is so much better, and are then surprised by the range of products and gifts available right here in the Keys. And oftentimes, it’s stuff they won’t find anywhere else!
4. Shopping local saves money
Mainland Big Box Stores have done a good job of convincing people that local business means more expensive. So – when you add travel costs, gasoline and wear and tear on your vehicle, and the time it takes to get there and back… really how much are you actually saving?
5. Shopping local saves and maintains our local business communities. People don’t like losing shops and services in small towns but – mystically – they somehow don’t connect this to where they spend their money.
6. Shopping local retains our unique community character. Independent shops create distinctive shopping experiences and stock different products than the same ones stocked at every Big Box Store. Local businesses respond quickly to the needs of their customers, stocking products to meet the changing needs of local shoppers.
7. Shopping local saves the environment. Local shops often stock a high percentage of locally sourced goods – and they do not require shoppers to take that long car journey to the mainland, helping reduce our global footprint.
8. Local shops are for everyone. Most people can get to their local shops easily and this is especially important for the elderly and young generations and those without transportation (or those who don’t want to ride the bus for hours with a busload of their closest friends).
9. Local shops value you more. Evidence from business surveys show people receive better customer care and service when they shop locally. These businesses survive by their reputation and repeat business – and you’re just as likely to know the shopkeeper or manager personally. This not only results in a higher standard of service, it also makes it easier to return or exchange if something isn’t right.
10. Shopping local saves other local services. Private and public sector services tend to cluster around shops. As shops disappear so do hairdressers, banks, restaurants, etc.