As the holiday shopping season approaches, campaigns encourage residents to shop local. For good reason. Patronizing local retail stores, or frequenting locally owned restaurants and coffee shops instead of chains, has direct fiscal impacts on the local economy and your neighbors’ job prospects, as well as social benefits.
1 About 52 percent of small business revenue is recirculated into the local economy, researchers say. Only 13 percent of revenue from big businesses stays here.
2 Small business owners spend some of their own salaries and profits locally. Chains export dollars to top management and investors.
3 Local businesses employ local lawyers, insurance agents, cleaning companies and accountants. Professional services for a big business are mostly handled at corporate headquarters or farmed out to other large companies.
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4 Small business owners donate time and money to local charities and schools. Chains rarely have such a strong, vested interest in the community.
5 Local retailers are more likely than chains to carry local products.
6 A local startup often relies on local architects, flooring companies, sign makers and other area contractors. Chain stores have pre-made plans and designs and out-of-state crews.
7 Business startups—the little guys—are responsible for about 20 percent of all U.S. job creation. But as big businesses have grown and consolidated in recent decades, startups have declined.
8 Small businesses pay better wages for low- to mid-level jobs than large corporations.
9 Big box stores often displace as many jobs as they create, studies show, by pushing out smaller businesses or making it difficult for entrepreneurs to gain a toehold in a community.
10 Small business owners tend to make decisions that benefit the local community, knowing that what goes around comes around. Big businesses generally make decisions that benefit the home office and their investors.
SOURCES: American Independent Business Alliance; Civic Economics Survey of Independent Businesses; NYU; MIT