We are faced with the dilemma everyday – buy from the big box store or from the local guy down the street? The big box store might be able to offer you a discount up front, but are you really getting the better deal in the long run?
Buying locally strengthens our local economy; helping the local shop owner helps you eventually. Shopping locally means that your money stays local and strengthens your community. According to Local First (a nonprofit organization advocating for local businesses in the Midwest), for every $100 spent in locally owned business $73 returns to the local community through taxes, supplies, wages, community donations, and local services. When you shop at a big box store, only about $43 dollars stays in the local community. If you shop online, almost nothing stays in your community. Big box stores are required to send their profits back to headquarters, meaning your purchases are helping to support another community’s prosperity.
Plus is their BIG SALE deal really all it is cracked up to be? When you shop at a big box store they generally hook you with low prices and great sales, however, they may not always give you the whole story. For instance, they may not tell you right away that hardware is sold separately, specific colors are more expensive, that they will need to special order in your specific size (and the wait will probably be 8-10 weeks), and that delivery is an extra charge. But remember you were getting a deal! Local business owners have more flexibility and are generally more willing to work with you to meet special orders and needs – and have more time to dedicate to making sure you get the right product the first time (which means less need for receipts and returns for store credit only).
So next time you are out shopping think about stopping at the little shop downtown before fighting traffic in the parking lot.