The start of a new year is the time that many individuals choose to shed old habits, but it is also a great time to start new ones. Shopping at big box stores may be convenient, but making an effort to spend more time and money getting the things you need from smaller retailers supports your local economy. It also allows you to find more unique gifts, clothing, and household items. The economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have wreaked havoc on small businesses that rely on their local clientele to keep their doors open. Regularly supporting these businesses is an ideal way to help your community recover from these difficult times. Big box stores and major online retailers are not in imminent danger of going out of business, but the mom-and-pop shops in your town may be barely holding on. As we move into a new year, full of hope for getting life back to normal, consider these top reasons to get in on the shop small movement.
If you are looking for personalized, hands-on attention from the stores you patronize, there is no comparison to the attention you get when you shop small. The proprietors of these businesses strive to provide a memorable customer experience because their livelihood depends on repeat business. On top of that, many of these business owners got into business because they truly enjoy the relationships they build with the customers they deal with on a daily basis. This is a way that many individuals get to know the people in their community, and they get true satisfaction out of providing quality products to their friends and neighbors. When store owners specialize in products that they make, you can be more trusting of the quality of workmanship that went into the goods and more likely to get any issues resolved to your satisfaction if you should run into any problems with quality or function.
In addition to the high level of customer service you receive, the convenience of local shops can’t be beat. In many cases, especially for individuals who live in small towns, the big box stores are located some distance away, which requires driving or taking public transportation just to do a bit of shopping. However, many small businesses are located right on “Main Street U.S.A.,” which enables shoppers to walk from their homes and from one store to another, with ease as they connect with neighbors and make new friends along the way.
Products the Shop Handmade Movement Offers Have a Tale to Tell
When an individual has the dream of starting a small business to sell their handmade products, there is undoubtedly a story behind their dream and what sparked their interest in making their goods. As you shop handmade, you will find that these business owners love to discuss their inspiration, materials, and techniques. Getting to know these individuals gives the products you buy more meaning, as you truly get a different feel for their products than you would at a major retailer. In some cases, customers even become inspired to start selling their own handmade goods. As shoppers get to know their local retailers, they gain an understanding of the heart and soul that is poured into these products and allows them to share these stories with others. This encourages more people in the community to patronize these businesses and propels the movement forward.
Handmade Products Tend to Be More Environmentally Friendly
When you shop local for handmade goods, you will find that these products are typically made on-site or in small neighborhood studios. These original items don’t have far to travel before they hit the store shelves, which means that less energy is required to get them to the consumer, and they leave a much smaller carbon footprint. Quality is another factor to consider in the way these products affect the environment. Since the goods are typically made from higher-grade materials than those you find in big box stores, they often get passed on as heirlooms, making them more sustainable. This means less trash in our landfills and less energy being put into mass-production. In addition to that, many of these small retailers put a concentrated effort into using recycled or repurposed materials and packaging.
Shopping Local Encourages the Growth of American-Made Goods
American manufacturing has been on a downslide for decades, but local small businesses are slowly changing that on a grassroots level. As more businesses make their mark on local economies, the products they provide help to revitalize communities and offer artisans a chance to showcase their skills and talents. This gives individuals a unique platform for marketing their wares that larger retailers simply can’t provide. In many cases, the products we find at big box stores are produced by machines that have replaced the American worker in manufacturing plants. As small businesses grow, job growth is encouraged, as they must hire staff to create and sell the products they offer.
Shopping Small, Local, and Handmade Gives Back to the Community
When you buy products from the small businesses in your community, you are helping to secure a strong foundation upon which your town or city can grow. The revenue and sales tax that is generated by your purchases benefit the local economy and the taxes that the retailer pays to the city, county, and state help to improve infrastructure and local public works. As stated above, the shop small movement also encourages community job growth. This may seem insignificant compared to large factories and huge retailers, but every job created makes a difference in the overall picture. On top of all this, selling handmade crafts and other goods gives the business owner a sense of pride that builds their confidence. It also allows them to hone their skills and provides a means of support that not only puts food on their table but gives them the chance to invest money back into the community.
Join the Shop Small Movement and Make a Difference in Your Community
The growth of shopping small and handmade is dependent on individuals like you. As it grows, it creates vital opportunities for business owners to improve their strategy, connect with local customers, and build communities. The circumstances these movements provide for entrepreneurs benefit the continued existence of brick-and-mortar stores, the ability for artists and artisans to make a living from their talents, and a continued vision of the American dream. Although making this change in your shopping habits may seem insignificant, its impact on your city and the neighborhood in which you and your family live increases with every individual who chooses to shop small, local, and handmade.
The Boon Room is more than a website, brand or service. It’s an idea. It’s a project. It’s a mission. It’s a coming together of companies, investors, cultivators, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and inspired entrepreneurs who believe businesses need to look for ways to invest in sustainablity.