How ‘Going Local’ Benefits You & Your Community

Mar 21, 2022

We live in a small community where it’s very apparent that the local economy is supported and driven by its own residents.

Collectively, we have thwarted multiple attempts by “big box” stores to buy up vacant land and establish themselves in our semi-rural community. If they were to succeed, we know the results would end up squeezing out our beloved local small businesses.

Amongst the many small businesses in our community, the residents happily support a local credit union instead of a big bank and frequent a funky hardware store, clothing and sporting goods suppliers, nurse practitioners, holistic health care providers, a gas station where (until recently) they would actually pump your gas if you wanted, plus two independent family-owned grocery stores, some seasonal roadside stands whose produce is all locally grown, a corner convenience store featuring products also made in the community, the fishmonger, bakeries, a thriving small pet and large animal supply store and so on.

The folks who serve us know us. We feel very fortunate. Does this sound like where you live too? If it does, you may also take great pleasure in being a part of what makes smaller or inner city communities work and thrive.

Keep Businesses in Business

We decided to change our consumer habits over the last 15 years after moving out of a big city (Toronto) to a smaller town for six years, and then moving again to an even smaller one – where we’ve lived for 11 years. We’ve become very aware of supporting locally owned enterprises from these experiences and how it can make a big impact on the community and the lives therein. Keeping businesses in business means they not only survive but they also create a trickle-down effect, providing sustainable employment opportunities for local residents so they too can survive.

What you get is a more self-sufficient environment in which to live. Going local keeps profits circulating within the community.

We personally think that, had we stayed in a metropolitan city environment, we’d have still sought out more local and community-based options as opposed to the big box ones. We were already seeking out small businesses and services to fulfill our consumer needs, with a mind to supporting our local enterprises.

Good Results

In the community where we live today, we like the idea that there are citizens who not only live here but others who also come from afar to buy from and frequent our establishments. The results have acted to encourage entrepreneurship amongst the citizens, along with the development of various products and services which enhance everyone’s life.

The Trickle-Down Effects

The number of young people flexing their entrepreneurial muscles here has been significant in the past few years, despite the pandemic. Another wonderful observation is that the younger generation is staying in the vicinity and not relocating to “the big city”. This is key as they’re now having their own families which in turn fill the schools with youngsters and, bingo, jobs for daycare workers and school teachers in our community have risen.

Supporting and growing local businesses results in a thriving marketplace too, which also brings outsiders to our neighbourhood: artisanal breweries and bakeries, cheese and dairy outlets, fresh seasonal organic produce available at roadside markets, locally produced and unique arts and crafts, craftspeople producing home furnishings. We have intimate restaurants and bars serving locally sourced meals and drinks where local talent is showcased with live music and entertainment. There are all-season sports venues and the collateral elements associated with that. It’s amazing.

Service with a Smile

Another bonus is that we’ve found that our local small businesses usually have way better customer service, and generally invest in the community more than the big box corporations do. They love what they do and we love how they do it. And that’s the best part of it all.

The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if you go local in your borough nestled within a larger city, or perhaps in your city’s little Italy or Greektown or in your favourite funky downtown neighbourhood. Maybe it’s even tucked away in a suburban strip mall. No matter the dynamic, patronizing the small businesses and enterprises where you live benefits everyone.

Tell Us About Your Community Efforts

We’d love to hear from you, our readers, about the various kinds of initiatives happening within your community and how you’re supporting and frequenting your small business entrepreneurs. Please drop us a line on the Everything Retirement Facebook page or our Twitter feed.

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