How Shore Financial Planning Supports Local Businesses
Unfortunately, it’s tough for many small local businesses to keep their doors open during the pandemic. They face stiff competition from corporate chain stores and online retailers, which usually offer lower prices and a more extensive selection. If you want to see your town’s local businesses survive and prosper, you have to go the extra mile and stay close to home for your shopping needs.
Why Shopping Local Matters
When you have shopping to do, it’s tempting to take the easy route and just browse Amazon. But keeping your dollars in your hometown has advantages that are just as important as saving a few bucks, even if they’re not immediately apparent. By shopping locally, you reap such benefits as:
- A Stronger Economy. Local businesses hire local workers. In addition to staff for the stores, they hire local architects and contractors for building and remodeling, local accountants and insurance brokers to help them run the business, and local ad agencies to promote it. Conversely, chain stores tend to displace as many local jobs as they create by driving local retailers out of business. When people buy from local small businesses, they’re spending creates around twice as many local jobs as money spent at big chain stores.
- A Closer Community. Shopping at local businesses gives neighbors a chance to connect. It’s easier to get to know someone you often see at a local coffeehouse than someone you only wave to on your way in and out of your house. Knowing your neighbors makes it possible to exchange favors, such as pet-sitting or sharing tools.
- A Cleaner Environment. Having stores in your immediate neighborhood means you can leave your car parked and do your errands on foot or by bicycle. Fewer cars on the road means less traffic, less noise, and less pollution.
How to Support Your Local Economy
There are many ways to support businesses in your area. For instance, if you have a local hardware store, look there first when you need anything for your house. Most towns have at least a couple of local restaurants, bars, or coffee shops. Choosing these places when you eat out is another way to support your local economy. Or, you can buy your produce from a local farmers market or shop for clothes at a local boutique.
Once you’ve identified local businesses in your area, the next step is to make shopping at them part of your usual routine. Since local businesses often can’t match the low prices of big-box stores, it can be challenging if you’re on a tight budget.
However, there are several ways to get around this problem:
- Go Local for Services. Goods are often cheaper at big-box stores that sell mass-produced products. However, services are often just as cheap when you buy them locally. For example, when I needed to print up a bunch of papers for a community event, a local print shop gave me a better price — and was much more convenient to use. Likewise, my trusted local mechanic consistently gives me much better service at a lower price than the car dealership.
- Shop Local for the Holidays. Each year, American Express sponsors an event called Small Business Saturday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving to encourage people to start their holiday shopping at their favorite local businesses, and many independent businesses offer special sales on this day.
Not all local businesses are useful to everyone. For instance, a children’s clothing store isn’t much use to you if you don’t have kids. However, everybody has to eat, so shopping locally for food is one of the best ways to support your local economy.
A locally owned grocery store is a good place to start, but a farmers market is even better. Shopping there gives you a chance to meet not just the people who sell your food, but the people who grow it. Doing your shopping at farmers markets has several advantages over supermarket shopping:
- Quality. Farmers market produce is usually fresher than the goods sold at supermarkets. Since farmers grow the food locally, it hasn’t spent days or weeks traveling across the country. The fresher fruits and vegetables are, the better they taste, the more nutrients they retain, and the longer they stay fresh before you eat them.
- Sustainability. Locally grown food doesn’t have to be shipped long distances, which reduces its carbon footprint — the amount of greenhouse gas produced in growing, harvesting, and transporting it. Also, most sellers at farmers markets are small-scale growers who can more easily adopt green growing practices.
- Atmosphere. Farmers markets are typically friendlier, more personal settings than big supermarkets. It’s much easier to strike up a conversation with a fellow shopper searching through a bin of melons at the farmers market than with a stranger pushing a cart past you at the grocery store. The Farmers Market Coalition also reports that farmers market shoppers say they typically have 15 to 20 social interactions during each visit as compared to just one or two when they shop at the supermarket.
When you invest money in your local economy, you’re not just helping local business owners, you’re also helping yourself. You’re making your town a better place to live in, with a thriving economy and tightly knit community. And the more local businesses prosper, the more new ones will open, making it even easier to continue shopping locally in the future. Here at Shore Financial Planning, we do our best to support local businesses. We eat lunch daily at “My Kitchen Witch”, and utilize many local services. As a small business ourselves, we recognize the importance of shopping local, and encourage our neighbors to do the same.
As fiduciaries, we’ve taken an oath to prioritize your financial well-being above all else. We’ll treat you with the honesty and integrity you’d expect from someone with whom you are entrusting your future
Joseph Vecchio, CPA, CFP®, MBA, the founder of Shore Financial Planning, started his investment career in 1998 as a professional money manager on Wall Street. He believes in passive investing that is founded on empirical evidence.
Joe takes pride in protecting people from financial predators and helping them make smart financial decisions. We will provide you peace of mind through conflict-free, value-added financial, and tax advice.