The issue of shopping locally and supporting community and local businesses has come up at Secretariat meetings over the past few months. Where possible, we try to hold meetings and events in community-run premises and buy supplies from businesses in Leitrim.
Here are 10 good reasons to support the businesses closest to you.
#1: Buy local to support yourself
Studies show that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned business, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.
#2: Be friendly to our environment
Buying local produce reduces your carbon footprint. Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town centres as opposed to on the outer edges. This means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
Everything that is not produced in your local area has to be transported from a farm, industry or factory. If it is imported, it will have to be transported by boat or by plane. The fuel consumption quickly builds up your ‘food miles’.
The country markets or the farmers’ markets are the best places to find good quality food and it is usually produced locally.
When you are in the supermarket, think about the food you’re buying. Where was it produced? Can you buy Irish instead of imported foods? Buying Irish produce helps to reduce your ‘food miles’, ensures that you eat fresher food and also helps to support Irish industry.
#3: Support community groups
Non-profit organisations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses. You will know this yourselves from your fundraising efforts and raffles. Remind your members to support the businesses that support you.
#4: Keep your community unique
Where we shop, where we eat and have fun – all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit.
“Creating an identity/proposition (or ‘individual flavour’) for each destination will help to achieve standout while at the same time ensuring a coordinated, clear, consistent and economical approach to branding.” Fáilte Ireland.
#5: Local businesses create more jobs
Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
2014 CSO figures: 69% of people employed by small, medium and micro industries.[i]
#6: Get better service
Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
#7: Invest in your community
Local businesses are owned by people who live in the community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
#8: Put your taxes to good use
Local businesses require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community. In addition, internationally owned businesses often demand tax incentives.
#9: Encourage future investment
Economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenised world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
#10: Competition leads to more choices
A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.