Shop Local: 3 Ways to Support Your Local Businesses

woman in a local clothing store

By buying products and services from small businesses in your area, you are doing your part to help the community thrive.

Support local has become quite the catchphrase, but we’re here to tell you it’s not just something to say. It’s something to do… something we can all do. Buying products and services from small businesses in your area not only helps your community to thrive but gives more meaning even to the smallest decisions in your day.

And yes, you can play an important role in supporting local. It all starts with making a personal commitment, a change in perspective, and an open mind for thinking just a little bit outside of your Amazon box.

Why is supporting local something we should even care about? We’ll start with two great reasons.

What if next time you shop around for a certain item – a new dress, a toy for your child, your next summer novel, a bag of dog food – you put on your philanthropic hat and see the (small) upcharge you may shell out to buy from a local business as a meaningful way to help keep your hometown thriving? A little goes such a long way for small businesses. You may also realize you can get items just as inexpensively as you would from large chain stores. Or you may come to know that an item created by a local craftsperson, while it will likely cost more upfront, will last you much longer than what you’d purchase online with one click – saving you cash long term.

Do it for the planet. Purchasing online can be cheaper, but the environmental impact could be more costly. And if you think ordering online is an eco-friendly alternative to driving to a store, this myth has been debunked. Here’s the gist: People tend to make smaller overall online purchases. Maybe you order some paper towels today. Tomorrow morning you might realize you’re out of toothpaste. A few hours later, some sunscreen. See how the carbon footprint adds up? Now imagine, in comparison, you have committed to shopping at your local mercantile, and know you’ll be making a trip there in the coming days. Most people tend to shop in bulk – all at once – when they take the time to drive to a brick-and-mortar store. It’s this tendency that results in a lower overall carbon footprint versus ordering online for home delivery. Mother Earth will thank you!

Now that we’re jazzed about why supporting local is so great, let’s get into the how – starting with three easy and fun ways to support your local businesses and incorporate it into your everyday life.

Share a (Local) Meal

This one’s a no-brainer. You’re probably (hopefully) already doing this without thinking about it, but grabbing dinner with the family at a local restaurant instead of a national fast-food chain is certainly supporting local! Bonus points if they source a lot of their ingredients locally as well. And grabbing coffee with a friend at the nearby roastery can feel even better knowing you’re investing in not only a quality product but local talent as well.

A Week or Month of Local

Yes, you can find most everything you need in a small radius around your house – Amazon not included. Not convinced? We think you’ll be surprised at just how doable it really is to keep all of your spending within your community. In a given month (or even a week, or a few days to kick it off), what will you likely need? Food, household supplies, maybe some entertainment? Most local stores have it covered. You have options! Whether it’s the local farmers market, mom and pop retail shops, or finding entertainment from local museums, sporting events, and more, a little extra creativity in your thinking can go a long way. It can even be a fun challenge for your and your friends and family to share together, or you could make it a competition to see who can go the longest without succumbing to a big box store.

Share a Positive Review

This one is free! Local businesses know this especially – nothing is as effective as positive, organic word-of-mouth marketing. If you have a great experience with a local business, be sure to let others in your community know about it. Whether you post a review to the shop’s Google page, post an image to social media and tag the business, or tell others about your recommendation via a community app like Nextdoor or your neighborhood Stroll magazine, your positive words most likely have a much greater impact on the company than your single purchase. The power of personal recommendation cannot be understated. It can’t get any easier to support local. Just use your voice!

At Stroll, we’re all about connecting to the community through building and preserving long-lasting relationships. By buying products and services from small businesses in your area, you are doing your part to help the community thrive and forging connections along the way. You may even strike up a great conversation with the owner and create a meaningful friendship.

Happy supporting local – and thank you for being a great neighbor!