Why shopping local is important

Hayley Stenberg

Minot

Shopping small and shopping local are nice words we all like to use, we talk the talk but are we walking the walk. Are we the person that knows it’s the right thing to do but not practicing what we think or say because it is simply TOO easy to not.

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand how easy it is to grab the computer to buy what I need. I have been the person who wanted to “shop local” so I went out hunting for the item I specifically needed, using two hours of valuable time. Returning home empty-handed because none of the four stores that carried these types of items had what I was looking for. Once I was home I turned to my computer and in less than 10 minutes I found exactly what I was looking for, it was at my door in 2 days.

With that being said, was the two hours’ worth it? Was I just being a chump doing all that work?

The answer is an emphatic it was worth it!

Buying local should be our first inclination and should be what we strive to do because if we don’t our merchants (our friends) will not be here for long. Understanding what buying local does for our community and ourselves would hopefully make us think twice when we are tempted to turn to the world of online.

Think about this:

Keeping our community unique. One-of-a-kind businesses are an essential part of the charm of our city. It is what distinguishes us from other cities and from the same old, same old, chain stores.

Supporting community groups. When local organizations are doing a fundraiser, where do they turn? Generally they start with local businesses because we don’t have the red tape a major chain will have and we are usually more generous because we know the causes, schools, organizations and the people that run these fundraisers.

Create more local ownership and good jobs. How about your first job? Mine was at a local sports retailer, Scheel’s. Based out of Fargo and still run by the Scheel’s family, a true North Dakota company, they employ hundreds of people and provide much to their local communities. If we purchase online when we have the ability to purchase in our own communities, will those businesses and first jobs still be here? If online begins to replace local businesses you and I won’t have places for our children, grandchildren or friends to work at all, much less first jobs.

Invest in the community. Local businesses are owned by your friends and neighbors who live in this community, are less likely to leave and are more invested in the community’s future.

Provide better service. Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and because they are our friends and neighbors we take more time to get to know our customers.

Better selections. When a local business gets to know its customers and we go to market, we make selections based on what our customers like and not what is on the big retailer’s national sales plan.

Last but certainly what I would consider the most important, is better public services. Local businesses mean a stronger tax base and better use of public services. These services include schools, transportation and emergency response. When you are driving through our streets and you hit that pot hole and wonder why they haven’t repaired the street, remember if the dollars are not being spent in our local communities the taxes will not be gathered and there won’t be revenue to repair and sustain these public services. Purchasing local products keeps your tax dollars local.

All in all we simply cannot lose by “keeping it local.”

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