The holidays are officially upon us, and for many people that means one thing: shopping.
Sales are abundant and store hours are extended this time of year, all to entice shoppers into buying more and more often. While the act of buying gifts for others can be gratifying, sometimes spending loads of money all in one go can be taxing on a person. However, there is a way to complete your holiday shopping while also contributing to the growth and prosperity of your city.
Shopping at locally owned stores is a great way to support the local business community, as well as find fun and interesting gifts for the people on your shopping list. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, there are a multitude of benefits associated with the “Shop Local” movement.
Perhaps the most vital of these benefits is that local businesses generally put a larger amount of their revenue back into their communities versus nationally owned stores. Since those business owners live and work in one place, they can use their profits to improve the services they provide to local customers, as well as spend their personal income within the city, boosting the economy from the consumer side.
Another benefit of shopping locally is that supporting community-owned businesses helps a city or neighborhood maintain its unique character. By allowing unique, independent stores to flourish, a particular enclave will be unlike any other place in its city or state, and possibly even the country. This character will not only make a place more interesting and exciting for its residents, but will also draw visitors from other areas who may spend money at those local businesses; money that will go back into the local community.
Last, supporting a marketplace of local businesses will foster a competitive marketplace. This is a big positive for consumers because competition leads to lower prices and more cutting-edge ideas. Shopping locally at myriad stores for various products and services will keep those business owners working to keep you coming back to them, and not their local (or national) competition.
If you’re interested in joining the “Shop Local” movement this holiday season, visit KCSourcelink’s website (kcsourcelink.com) and click on the “Shop Local” tab at the top of the screen. KCSourcelink has compiled a comprehensive directory of locally owned restaurants, retail outlets, and more, for consumers to search and browse. It’s the best place to start your local shopping adventure in Kansas City.
Emma Claudius is the business librarian at the Main Kansas City, Kansas Public Library.