The fall of brick and mortar retail has been a trending topic in the news this year with popular brands like Sears, J.C. Penney, Kmart, Payless, Macy’s, American Apparel, Gymboree, Alfred Angelo, and more closing thousands of stores this year. Online retailers and discount merchants are receiving the most blame for this major shift in business, while others are pointing out that these retailers are just no longer providing buyers with the products and prices they’re looking for. Now, we can’t lie. We love ourselves some Amazon and can find an online deal like no other, but there is a certain value that brick and mortar stores bring to our local economy. More specifically, locally owned brick and mortar stores.
Maybe you’ve heard this –.70 cents of every dollar spent at a locally owned small business stays in the local economy versus .30 cents spent at big chain stores. Spend $1 online and none of it feeds back into the local economy.
What’s so important about money staying local? Buying local fuels small business growth and…
- Small businesses provide the most jobs locally.
- They support other small businesses more often than large business.
- Small businesses are usually rated higher in customer satisfaction.
- Small businesses donate 250% more to nonprofits and community causes than large businesses.
- Local small businesses pay property taxes, which go into local schools, government, and infrastructure.
- Small businesses are unique and contribute to the city’s character and authenticity, which fuels the tourist industry.
- A healthy small business economy improves the wellbeing and quality of life of the surrounding residents.
Sounds pretty great, huh?
Additionally, buying local is more likely to raise and maintain property values than buying from a big company or online. Independent We Stand (IWS), a national group made up of small businesses, and Civic Economics, an economic analysis and economic development strategic planning consultancy, conducted a study of cities with strong centralized small business districts and found they had a 54.2 percent greater increase in property values on average than those that didn’t. When more money goes to local businesses, owners and employees have more money to invest in real estate, so more houses are bought and sold, and demand rises. Higher demands lead to higher property values.
You can see how a strong locally owned business district can affect an area thanks to the Home Value Calculator from IWS. This calculator was created with the data generated in their study and shows how a strong small business district would affect an area over the course of 14 years. Can you imagine how the quality of life could improve if we supported more locally owned companies?
While no study is 100% accurate when applied to different localities, it’s clear that buying local has an impact on local home sales. If families spent just $10 a month at locally owned businesses, $9.3 billion would be returned to local economies. Next time you need to make a purchase, consider doing it locally. You’ll only be improving your quality of life.