In Praise Of Local Business
Our products go out wholesale, to small, local, and niche sellers all over the country. As such, we clearly have something of a vested interest in supporting local businesses! However, even if it weren’t for our own particular interest, we’d still want to support local business. Local businesses are the backbone of communities.They add color, character, and cash to a locale. They’re our first line of defense against the ‘clonification’ of towns everywhere. Thats what we love so much about the Blanco/Wimberley Texas area – its different, its unique, and it supports its community…..there are very few “chain” stores we LOVE that.
Labor Of Love
We hate to say it, but it’s pretty hard to make a lot of money out of a small, local business. Most local business owners are either just getting by, or struggling, knowing full well that they’re unlikely to ever make megabucks. For large chain-businesses, loss-leaders, extra staff, and price-slashing promotions are affordable, as are overheads. This isn’t the case for smaller concerns, who often struggle to make a reasonable profit margin. So why do it? Well, small, local businesspeople usually aren’t in it for the money (although that certainly helps!). They do what they do for the love of it. Maybe they love their town, and think that a gift shop would give it a boost. Maybe they adore brewing beer, or growing vegetables, or crafting jewelry, and the ‘sales’ aspect of the thing is a bonus to what is essentially a lifestyle choice. So, if you buy goods and services locally, you know you’re getting a product which is crafted with love and care, or supporting a store which genuinely has the best interests of the community at heart. That’s worth paying a bit extra for, at times!
The Personal Touch
Chain stores and businesses are increasingly trying to replicate the ‘local community effect’ within their branches, but without much success. A Starbucks barista might write your name on your coffee cup, but it’s not the same as automatically knowing just how you like your coffee, and stopping to chat with you as you drink. Local businesses rely on local people to stay alive – which makes you as a customer particularly valuable to them. This means they’re likely to take more of a personal interest in you, your needs, and your life in general. A local business may well have your order ready for you before you even step in the door, or take time out of their day to recommend something you might like better. Amazon and Google offering ‘recommendations’ based on your browsing history is one thing. Being given the lowdown by an actual human who actually knows you is quite another! What’s more, if you’re going to run a successful local business, you’re going to have trouble if you’re not the kind of person who enjoys being a part of the local community. Generally, the kinds of people who open small, local businesses are the kinds of people with a real interest in promoting community spirit. They’ll go out of their way to ensure that they’re doing their very best for everyone in the vicinity. That’s an attitude all too lacking in our disconnected modern world – and it’s something to be cherished!
Then, of course, there’s the fact that shopping local supports the local economy. When you buy from a big chain, some of your money will go towards the wages of local employees. However, the majority of it will be channelled to the top of the ‘chain’, and wind up in some executive’s pocket thousands of miles away, or be used to improve another store on the other side of the country. By contrast, if you shop locally, your money goes towards the shop itself and all who sail in her. Shop owners and employees will take any profit from purchases as wages, and (most likely) spend them on within the locale. Rather than funneling money out of the community, therefore, these businesses keep the money in circulation – and even plunge money back in. The lack of vibrant local businesses has been directly implicated in the economic, environmental, and social decline of many areas. By supporting local businesses, you are directly supporting your own community – and the benefits of this come back to you. If you can get beautifully, lovingly made soaps into the bargain – everyone’s a winner!