Why you should support local businesses

People shop all the time for all kinds of things like clothing, food and other necessities without much thought about where they shop from.
Most of the time people shop from large conglomerate businesses and their chain stores such as Walmart and Amazon. These huge corporations take up a lot of the market share in many industries, causing a huge disparity between them and smaller, local businesses.
According to the Harvard Business Review, the difference between the market value of the “top 30% and bottom 30%” of companies was around $3.5 billion.
It doesn’t help that so many brands are owned by the same few large conglomerates, further monopolizing the market.
This goes to show just how powerful big companies are and how they dominate the market, overshadowing and leaving not much room for small businesses to succeed, explaining one of the reasons why so many small businesses end up failing.
There are several reasons why small businesses can not compete with these big companies.
One reason, and arguably the most important, is that small businesses usually can not compete with larger companies in terms of the pricing of their products. Most large businesses have the means to produce their products overseas for much cheaper labor prices and thus can sell their products for less, while still making significant enough profit to succeed.
Another huge reason is accessibility. Big businesses have chain stores or a large online presence that people can easily access versus local and smaller stores that have limited reach.
Additionally, larger companies have access to mass production which allows them to have a wider range of products that are more easily available to consumers.
An issue for small businesses is when it comes to hiring. Most people are attracted to working for a large company and the prestige that comes with it, thus making it hard for local businesses to have competent employees that can keep the business running.
That being said, small businesses are still very important components of the economy as they provided the majority of jobs in the last few decades, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. These jobs go to local community members and thus benefit the overall community.
Also with familiar faces of your community working, you’ll feel an elevated sense of customer service when shopping that you can’t get through larger companies that are online.
“It creates a bond between the local merchants and the surrounding community,” business teacher Howard Dwyer said. “You go into a smaller store, a little local business, they know your name when you come in and you kind of feel a part of that [community].”
When purchasing from local businesses, the money spent goes back into the local community’s economy rather than the pockets of large conglomerates.
Another thing to consider when you buy locally is that you’re supporting individuals and their livelihoods. Many companies took hits due to Covid and smaller businesses were no exception, while huge companies have investors to fall back on. Smaller local businesses are usually funded solely through the means of the individual owner.
“By shopping in a local business, especially during this time of Covid, you’re helping people to survive,” Dwyer said.
Through shopping locally at small businesses, customers also have access to more unique and personalized products, since they’re not mass produced in factories like in bigger companies.
“As a business owner myself, I think it’s good to support local businesses because some of them have unique, authentic products and services,” senior Ishat Hannan said. “The attention that smaller businesses give to their goods can help shoppers find products or services that they’ll be satisfied with.”
While it’s true that smaller businesses’ products are usually more expensive, it’s due to the handmade and or local labor.
“It depends on what you’re getting, but it’s sometimes worth it to put in a little more money and get something better out of it,” junior Aisha Ismael said.
Smaller businesses can be easily overlooked by customers due to bigger companies. To find small businesses, it can be as easy as going on a drive to a local plaza and taking a look to find any non-chain stores or just a quick Google search.
There are also some websites that serve as a third party between small businesses and customers, like Etsy. These websites have a plethora of types of products and businesses, so there’s bound to be something that can cater to everyone’s needs.
While there is Small Businesses Saturday, a holiday that takes place the day after Black Friday and promotes shopping at small businesses, smaller businesses need year round support to stay afloat and succeed.
So, next time you’re out shopping, consider checking out a local store and supporting your local businesses and the people that run them.