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Local products.  Photo by Bet Zimmerman.  

Local businesses may carry locally grown products. There are many more reasons to patronize small shops. More....

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  1. Mall.  Google earth photo.
    Small businesses tend to have a small environmental footprint. In contrast, this million square foot mall, filled with chain stores, sprawls across 65 acres of former farmlandGoogle Earth photo.
    Local businesses pay taxes in your town, funding town services and helping to keep your property taxes lower.
  2. Shopping locally saves gas.  Not only is gasoline expensive, but driving a car has many environmental consequences.  If local businesses are just a few miles away, you can reach them via a walk or bike ride. This allows you to get healthy exercise, fresh air, and experience the scenery along the way.
  3. Small businesses provide jobs for local people, who then do not have to drive so far to get to work.
  4. Going a shorter distance to get what you need saves your precious free time.  You can use that extra time to volunteer, plant a native shrub to attract birds, or simply enjoy the outdoors with your family and friends.
  5. Small businesses generally have a much smaller environmental footprint than big box stores.  For example, they are seldom the source of air polluting traffic jams. They are not likely to fill in wetlands with acres of impervious asphalt parking lots that pollute the night sky with light 24/7. 
  6. Local business may stock locally made or grown items, like honey or maple syrup produced right here in the Quiet Corner. 
  7. Having a sales outlet nearby helps sustain agriculture and other small businesses in the area.
  8. Quaint, small structures blend in with the community, preserving scenic vistas.  They are usually more visually appealing that a big concrete block building.  If they do close, they won’t leave a giant abandoned eyesore behind.
  9. The quality of items sold locally tends to be better, since they realize you might be back to complain!  That means less cheap junk ends up in a landfill or incinerator.
  10. Local businesses care about the community.  They are closely connected to it, and thus consider their impact on it.  They are more willing to invest in its future.  Many owners generously donate time, money and products to efforts that benefit their neighbors.
  11. They bring diversity and character you won’t find in a chain store. They provide personal service and may know you by name. Last but not least, if you shop locally, local shops are more likely to be here tomorrow when you want them and need them.
Originally published in the Villager newspapers on June 13, 2008

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