I’ve always been proud of the fact that Sport Seasons is a locally owned small business. Working for Sport Seasons has taught me quite a bit about the impact of local businesses and just how much local owners give back to the community. We’ve seen so many things change in the 24 years since opening the first Sport Seasons store. (Online shopping, social media, the Tennessee Titans and Nashville Predators!) What hasn’t changed is the importance of local businesses. In fact, today local businesses are more important than ever. While doing research for this post, I found list after list on why shopping local is better. (The internet loves lists) I combined some of the best lists to share with you.
- Local Economic Stimulus. When you purchase at locally owned businesses instead of national chains, more money is kept in the community because locally owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses and service providers. Your dollars spent in locally owned businesses have three times the impact on your community as dollars spent at national chains. Sport Seasons sources as many local businesses as we can for service, repair, and product lines to carry.
- Community Well-Being. Locally owned businesses build strong neighborhoods by sustaining communities, linking neighbors, and by contributing to more local causes. Local business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners. Sport Seasons strives to support healthy activity and sports for all ages. Each year we participate in many local charity walks and runs. We also donate gift cards for local school fundraising programs focused on health and fitness.
- Public benefits far outweigh public costs. Local businesses require comparatively little infrastructure and more efficiently utilize public services relative to chain stores. Many chain stores are owned by non-local companies, and are given tax breaks by local government. Locally owned independent businesses do not receive such benefits and thus contribute a far greater proportion of revenues to local taxes.
- Unique Businesses Create Character and Prosperity. The unique character of your local community is defined in large part by the businesses that reside there. This is a major factor on your overall satisfaction with where you live and the value of your home and property. When local businesses close, faced by too much competition from big boxes stores, the area changes and loses character.
- Most new jobs are provided by local businesses. Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally. Plus the more jobs you have in your local community the less people are going to commute, which means more time, less traffic, and less pollution. We’re greener!
- Customer service is better. Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise for better customer service. You are also going to see these people around town and they are less likely to blow you off or be rude since they see you day after day. I really liked this point. My husband, aka “Crazy Legs” Barry, constantly points out regular customers of Sport Seasons when we are out and about. Many will recognize him and stop to chat a minute. One of the best things about doing working in local communities as long as we have is to watch families of regular customers grow up. Some customers have grown up buying all their shoes from Sport Seasons, and come back to us to outfit their own children. Our business is built on regular customers, and we strive to provide them the best service possible.
- Product diversity. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices. Each of our six Sport Seasons locations carries a different mix of products important to the local area. No two locations are the same.
- You matter more. We talk a lot about exerting influence with your purchasing choices, or “voting with your wallet.” It’s a fact that businesses respond to their customers but your values and desires are much more influential to your local community business than the large big box stores. We do listen to our customers. Many times we’ll bring in a product line or team based on customer requests. We also special order with many of our vendors. Also, since the day we opened our second location, we’ve always transferred items to other stores for the convenience of our customers. If we don’t have at one location the size, color or team that you need, we’ll get it from another and bring it to the store closest to you.
Make a choice to support your local economy. Make a difference – shop local!