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November 14, 2012

Small Business Saturday: Benefits of Shopping Small

While some of us like to shop major chain stores to save a few bucks, there are many benefits for shopping at small businesses in our local communities. When you shop at small, independently owned businesses, your money will help strengthen the local economy. It also keeps the local businesses unique. For instance, there is a small fabric shop by my house. Whenever I want to make a dress for DD or crate a craft project, I usually stop by that particular fabric shop because it carries fun and interesting prints that I never see in nationally owned craft stores.

Another reason to shop locally is that it reduces carbon footprint. An organic farm in our neighbor has a stand that's open everyday of the week. Shopping there not only means that I get to buy the freshest produce, I also know that what I am purchasing requires far less transportation (hence less pollution) than produce I would have picked up from the nationally owned supermarkets.

One of the reasons why I love shopping at small businesses is that they often hire people with better understanding of the products they are selling. The employees are often more friendly too. They will take the time to learn your name and what your preferences are. My husband went to a large retailer to buy a flat screen TV. He talked to several sales people and no one could answer the questions he had. In contrast, I remembered going to a local shop to buy a coffee machine for my father many years ago. I did not know which one to get because they are all very similar. After asking me several questions about how often my father drank coffee, if he would like a timer and if he preferred whole bean or not, the sales person recommended a coffee maker that my dad loved.

There are many things we buy locally. For example, we buy fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmer's market every weekend. I also shop at the local bakery for cupcakes and donuts. When my daughter wants a special treat, I take her to the a candy store only a couple of miles from our house. For fabrics, I shop at the local fabric shop. I think that it's important to support small businesses not only for the reasons I mentioned above, but also because small businesses are owned by people who live in the community. Consequently, they are invest in the future of our communities. When their businesses thrive, they are less likely to leave and more likely to invest in the community's infrastructure such as roads, street lights and buildings. If there weren't small businesses, our communities would lose the unique shops and any financial benefits that these small businesses bring to it.  As such, we should show our support for these small businesses by shopping there as frequently as possible!

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour for Mom CentralConsulting on behalf of American Express. I received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.


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