Think Big, Shop Small
March 7, 2023
Our choices — even when they seem small — impact the bigger picture. One area in particular where this rings true is shopping. Choosing to patronize large corporations and big box conglomerates fuels global commerce, however, it also frequently contributes to excessive waste, environmental harm, and considerable loss at the local economic level.
To combat these negative effects, it’s important we all make the choice to support the small businesses and restaurants in our area. Below, we’ll go over a few of the top reasons to shop local and the benefits doing so brings — to both the economy and the planet.
All over the U.S., mom-and-pop shops and small neighborhood businesses are at the heart of their communities. Some offer everyday goods and seasonal produce, while others deal in specialty food items and locally made merchandise. When consumers purchase these wares, they do more than just strengthen a singular business; they work to cycle money back into the community and support future growth.
For instance, sales taxes from these transactions go on to fund vital services, such as street repairs, community events and initiatives as well as police and fire protection. Without this financial support, local markets dry up and businesses go under. When that happens, there is a loss of diversity in terms of available goods, the communities tend to shrink, and a personal connection to friends and neighbors is diminished.
Along the same lines is job creation. When we support small businesses, they in turn open up employment opportunities for individuals from all walks of life. Consequently, owners can provide stability for their fellow community members and further push economic growth. In fact, a 2019 profile revealed that there are 30.7 million small businesses in the U.S. and they employed 47.3% of the private workforce.
Another far-reaching benefit that comes from shopping locally is its ability to shrink our carbon footprints. Large-scale production, distribution and transportation of goods is a major contributor to the current unsustainable level of greenhouse gas emissions. As this already extensive amount of global transportation increases, so too does global warming and climate change.
By shopping small, the amount of transportation for everyday goods could be drastically cut. As a result, it leads to decreased air pollution and the CO2 emissions that weigh heavily into each person’s carbon footprint. Local purchases also help to combat habitat loss and resource depletion as the materials and goods are often sourced or procured locally. As more and more people shop small, environmental benefits such as these add up and make a big difference for our planet’s health.
photo by RODNAE Productions via Pexels
In addition to what supporting small businesses does for the economy and planet, there’s what it can do for the people we call our neighbors and friends. Shopping small helps encourage real people who are striving toward their passions and “the American Dream,” all while giving back to those around them. In these times when human connection and compassion are dwindling, it’s important we all come together as a community and support one another however possible.
For further information on what happens when we all shop small along with some ways to show your support, please see the accompanying resource at the top of this article.