The verdict is in—healthy communities require people to shop locally!
If we want vibrant, unique town centres, with distinctive character and a variety of local shopping options, then we must keep our money in the local economy. Let’s be honest, we love our small towns! We love our bakeries, butchers, grocers, cafes, newsagents and quirky clothing and gift stores. To keep these storefronts open and alive, we must choose to purchase what we need locally.
If you need proof look to Nambour. At one time this town was the bustling hub of the Sunshine Coast (like present-day Maroochydore). Cue an industry closure, big box stores in the town centre and the Sunshine Plaza—that was the end of the sugar cane town.
Plus, how good does it feel to walk into your local and say g’day to the person behind the counter knowing that you fed their family with your purchase? It’s a relationship that goes both ways—let’s do more of it! If you’re still not convinced, we’ve put together some reasons why.
1. Spending money locally keeps money local
Buying from locally owned, independent businesses means more money is kept in the community because local businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Not only are you supporting one business, but several others with one purchase! Now that’s what we call spreading the love!
When you spend $100 at a local business, 58% more of your money stays in your community compared to $100 spent at a multinational company based store.
2. Community groups and events profit
Non-for-profits and community groups receive the most support from local businesses (sometimes as much as 350% more money than they do from non-locally owned businesses). Living on the Sunshine Coast, we love our sport, community groups and events so keep this in mind when you stop in at the town grocer.
3. Supports tourism
Local businesses often contribute a distinctive character to the town (think of Eumundi). Because of this local flavour, tourists flock to these places to spend time and money. The economy on the Sunshine Coast is heavily based on tourism and by fostering healthy communities, both this sector and revenue will grow and expand.
4. Reduces carbon emissions
Local businesses purchase locally which means far less transportation (lower emissions). Plus, they are typically located in town centres where walking is possible. This also means less sprawl, congestion, resource depletion and pollution.
5. Supports jobs + better customer service
If you own your own business, you love your customers. Plus, local businesses provide local jobs—in Australia, small local businesses are the largest employers. High employment results in healthier communities, and if you have a good relationship your local banker, grocer and mechanic, they might just give you a better deal!
6. Good community investments
Local businesses tend to invest in the community. They want to support their community and grow their customer-base. Local businesses also do not require the infrastructure upgrades that say a large shopping mall would. More efficient land use and more central locations mean local businesses put less demand on our roads, sewers, and safety services and generate more tax revenue per sales dollar (this means lower taxes and rates).
7. Promotes competition
Lots of small business in the community competing for the same market offers more variety, creates innovation, and keeps the prices down. Competition sustains an open market and prevents price gauging.
8. Good, quality neighbours
Economic research indicates that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. Good neighbours mean safe streets and active and engaged members who will work together to make better decisions for the whole community.
9. Higher real estate values
House prices in thriving towns and communities rise faster than other areas. This typically also means better local schools! So, if you want your house price to go up and your kids to go to better schools, shop locally!
Other ways to support your local businesses:
- Post, tweet or insta a new local find, a great coffee, sweet dress or brag about great customer service! Follow our locals on social media. Insert the #livelovelocal or #sunshinekollectiv.
- Jump start a local weekly ritual like going out to eat on Friday nights, Saturday morning markets, coffee on Sunday morning or lunch at your local Wednesday afternoon!
- Review local businesses online and inform visitors and tourists to increase traffic and customers.
- Send this article out through your social media channels to get your friends on board!
Words + pic Christina Cannes
Christina Cannes is the founder & publisher. She launched sunshine kollectiv because she believes everyone deserves to live in a happy, healthy community. And she wants to turn the media world on its head by changing the story—always choose love over fear!