Small businesses being rubbed out by huge international chains. This a story I've heard time and again.
I can understand the appeal large chains have. They are often cheaper, sometimes significantly cheaper. And these days, as production quality of many items seem to be going down, the adage “you get what you pay for” rarely feels like it applies anymore. Cheap knock offs aren't as low quality as they used to be, and “high quality” name brands often aren't made with as much quality these days. With quality differences in brands becoming nominal, price and convenience have often become the only deciding factors for many people.
I'm as eager to get a bargain as the next person, but have we thought about what we sacrifice when we buy from non-local entities? Local businesses cannot survive without local support. International retail giants have giant international customer bases, but local businesses do not have that luxury.
Here's a simple mathematical example: let's say the fictitious “Joe's Bookstore” has a steady base of one hundred regular customers. If your family of five stops utilizing Joe's bookstore, he's lost five percent of his business. If ten other families of five stopped coming, Joe could lose half his customers, which, for some businesses, is enough of a loss to make them fold. However, if the same fifty people stopped using Amazon's services, Amazon would never even notice.
As the editor of our newspaper (The Standard News) has pointed out in recent editorials, our culture is sustained by reciprocal investments from the local community, back into the local community. While our editor rightly applied this principle beyond financial investments, it applies just as well to investing in our local economy, economically.
As a member of our communities' local newspaper, The Standard gets to interact with local business people daily, so we know the value of keeping it local, and of their need of your local investment.
Let's all try to support the local businesses in our communities, before rushing off to large corporate chains and box stores. Let's keep our communities alive, and rich in each of their identities.