7 Reasons to Shop Local

The closure of another local small business needs to be our wake-up call. News stories of closing local businesses are too common.  Suffering behind the scenes are real people, their employees, families, landlords, and suppliers. 

There is often a disconnect between how we spend our money and the effect that our spending has on us and our province.  If you look around and take stock you will notice how many of us are employed, indirectly or directly, by the governments.  (Federal, Provincial and Municipal) Generally, good jobs that pay fairly well with stability and benefits. 

Often behind the scenes is the small business owner who, even at the best of times, struggles while working long hours with minimal financial rewards or security.  At the same time, they are driving the economy through their investments in their business and their ongoing spending.  Let’s take a minute to reflect on what that must feel like.  Dreading payroll every 2 weeks. Will, there will be enough money to make payroll or pay the significant overhead that most small businesses must support. Realizing that so many people rely on them to pay their bills as well. 

At the same time, these brave souls have all the financial pressure at home that everyone has.  This is magnified usually by the fact that their personal savings are often drained to start their business or keep it going. 84.3% of small businesses are self-financed through personal savings. The time away from their families takes its tole as well with missed important events and “emergencies” that keep popping up at the worst times.  No guaranteed holidays.  All at the same time with no pension or benefits.  Wow!

Our brothers and sisters need our support.  Can you imagine what the local business owner must think when they overhear their friends, family or customers talk about the amazing deal they received on Amazon or the Big Box Store?  Or how they visit the national chain while driving past their mom and pop restaurant.  Let’s get out and support them because we need them as much as they need us.  Here are 7 reasons to shop and support local businesses.

#1. Money stays in the local economy when you shop local

When you give a $1 to a local business, especially if it is a service, almost all of it stays here in the province.  This money circulates around the economy endlessly making everyone better off.  It is like a relay race.  The longer we keep it local the better it is for all of us. When you spend it online or in another region it just disappears. Poof!

#2.  Young and inexperienced employees receive valuable life experience

What better way to learn the value of hard work, entrepreneurship, and responsibility, than to work with a small business person?  Your performance matters to the future of the business and those connections are very difficult to teach in schools.  We need more entrepreneurs to keep our economy going so small business mentorship is crucial.

#3. Local Businesses donate their time and money to their communities

Behind the scenes of every community are tireless volunteers, many of them small business owners.  They give their time and donate services, products, and money to support the various causes.  They are not the large donations that we read about in the newspapers but they add up to be a lot more than the large donations from the big businesses that we hear so much about.

#4. They pay local taxes that pay for infrastructure. Shop Local to support the services that matter to you.

Many large businesses avoid paying taxes through creative accounting and tax planning. Small businesses are usually not able to avail of this type of tax reductions.  Head office is in their house or a small office and it is located right here in the province.  Their employees also pay taxes.  Real estate that they own or rent pays business and property taxes.  All contributing to the costs of running Newfoundland and Labrador, including paying the salaries of all the workers directly employed by the governments and government infrastructure. Did you know that 74.8% of the private sector employees in Newfoundland and Labrador work for small businesses?

#5.  Rent and Spending on running their business stay right here.

When you look around at all the commercial real estate you notice that it is mostly rented by small businesses.  The large power centers are actually owned by mainland companies so the rent from the Costcos and Walmarts leaves the province.  Those smaller buildings spread across the province are often owned either by the business owner, or another local business owner.  The construction and maintenance cost all go right back into the NL economy.

#6. Keeps families and employees from moving away when you shop local

This is a big one.  We need our population to grow.  As we age, if all the young people move away because there are no small businesses here, who will pay the bills?  If you care about your future we need to do whatever it takes make Newfoundland and Labrador a welcoming place.  We need to remember that to pay a government employee or keep a hospital open someone either has to work in the private sector and pay taxes or we need to borrow.  Think about that! Almost 75% of the private sector employees work for small businesses and they need to pay for a lot of our public infrastructure.  We need to keep them here.  Shop Local!

#7. They are our friends and neighbors

Looking back to earlier generations, everyone helped everyone else.  We need to get back to the traditional way of interacting with each other.  Helping each other established and grew the province.  Neighbors helping neighbors.  Drop out and interact with a small business owner.  Visit a small business owner and don’t forget to thank them for their service by supporting them.

In conclusion, when you shop local small businesses you will be helping yourself, your neighbors and future generations.  Get out and hug a small business owner.  Most likely they need it. 

For more info on Small Business statistics check out these statistics from Atlantic Business.  If you are interested in having a great time and supporting a small business that has been serving Newfoundland and Labrador for 25 years, visit Frontline Action