Standing in Yonge and Dundas square between the sky high billboards and screens plastered with brands and logos, or on Bloor Street East amongst the Chanel and Prada signs I can’t help but think about how big and known so many brands are. Many large corporations simply have the means to expand into any area of the world and set up a new store in that location, however, this neoliberal ability benefits only the tycoons and ultimately makes small-scale, local shop owners suffer. In a world where the rich keep getting richer and the poor keep getting poorer, I don’t want to be a contributor to these large inequalities as a consumer. There are many reasons people should stick to shopping local – for the environment, the economy, or your own wallet. Here are just some of the reasons, specifically in relation to injustices, that buying local, instead of buying from those big brands, can help solve.
- Creates Jobs – Local businesses themselves buy local – they need designers, sign makers, contractors for construction, local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, and advertising agencies to help run their business. Therefore the local invests in the local.
- Strengthens the Economy – Small businesses are more likely to put their money into more local businesses. “On average, 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses was recirculated locally, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores” (Amiba.net).
- Lowers Taxes – The more local businesses the lower our taxes because there is “more efficient land use and more central locations…put[ting] less demand on our roads, sewers, and safety services. They also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar” (Amiba.net).
- Creates Product Diversity – A single local shop most likely stocks a small selection compared to online retailers and large chains, but many independent retailers can create a large diversity with all of their small selections combined. So a small shop having small stock is not a bad thing, this creates a need for more small shops which creates healthy competition and also creates more job availability.
- Community Growth -Smaller businesses are more likely to donate and give back to the community. Although not all local businesses express a care for the community, smaller, locally owned businesses are more likely to give a crap about the community than large, multinational corporations.