We all know we should support local businesses.
What’s less clear is why. Coming out of COVID-19—a time which delivered challenge after challenge, from how to manage physical and psychological health concerns to navigating at-home education to keeping the economy on its feet—we’ve weathered a storm of epic proportions. As we tentatively move forward into what feels more and more like a solid return to “normalcy,” it’s more crucial than ever to revitalize our economies. And that all starts with supporting local.
With that return to normalcy come new opportunities to patronize your area’s locally owned shops. Your support can keep more money in your community, reduce your carbon footprint, create more local jobs and show meaningful support for your neighbors—and that’s just the beginning.
Here are some more great reasons why reinvigorating our local businesses (most of which were likely harder hit by COVID-19 than any large-scale corporation in the country) is important, and some ways you can start thinking about supporting them.
The ripple effect of community support
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to supporting our local communities, but sometimes we forget just how much small efforts can add up. Let’s examine the actual impact of buying local and demonstrate its far-reaching and long-term effects.
Local businesses keep money in your community
“For every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 stays in the community.”1 That means more jobs, more money for nonprofits, more money to spend right where you live—on things you care about. It has also been shown that, “Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to the community in which they operate than chain competitors. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national chain restaurants.”1 Long story short, it makes sense to spend your money at the businesses whose tax dollars go right back into your local economy.
Supporting independent businesses helps promote the regrowth of the middle class
The growing market share of a few large-scale corporations has led to an increasingly consolidated economy. The result? A shrinking middle class and expanding economic disparity. While large corporations tend to pay all their lower- and middle-tier employees about the same, their highly skilled employees earn much, much greater salaries, further widening the gap between wage earners.2 Supporting your area’s independent businesses can help contribute to a greater number of middle-class earners, which helps to more equally distribute wealth among the community.
Supporting local businesses means supporting your neighbors
There’s a deep emotional component to shopping in local stores. Chances are, you care about the same things your local businesses do because those owners are your friends and neighbors. You’ll both likely want to keep tax revenues local, give back to the community, increase employment rates, beautify and develop your neighborhoods and make sure your kids have access to good schools and a nice place to grow up. By supporting these business owners, you’re likely supporting your vision for your area’s future.4
Local businesses support more local businesses
It’s a wonderful thing for the money you’re spending to stay in your community. The added benefit is that local businesses support one another. So the more you support them, the more they support each other and stimulate your local economy, keep employment rates and wages high and contribute to causes that matter to you and your neighbors.
Independent means individual
At the end of the day, local businesses tend to give your community a sense of uniqueness. No two small businesses are quite the same, while chains tend to be exactly the same right down to the floor plan. Celebrate the one-of-a-kind businesses that make your area completely unlike any other. The same superstores exist at every interstate exit, but you can’t replace the mom-and-pop place in your hometown.
Doing your part
Stimulating and supporting your local economy is not only simple, it’s fun and entertaining, too. You can play a big role by making small changes. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Not everything is as easy as fast, free delivery. But think of the incredible benefits of doing a little extra to support local. And you can still do it from the comfort of your home.5
- Pay in advance for your next service: anything from haircuts to massages to facials—it can give your local businesses a little extra capital to keep thriving.
- Buy gift cards from your favorite stores, services and restaurants as gifts or just to keep on hand for a future outing.
- Donate to (or volunteer at) local community support programs.
- Leave positive online reviews about your favorite places. A quick review is an easy way to generate business for your neighborhood shops and restaurants.
- You can be a local influencer: tag your favorite spots on your social channels to give them a quick, easy visibility boost.
- Order curbside pickup for your next get-together.
Think local first
Visiting a local, independent business isn’t always the most convenient option. But try to train your brain to make it your first thought. Before you hit the chain restaurant or big-box store, consider your other options.
- Is there a local restaurant that might be even better? Try it out!
- Is there an independent hardware store, flower shop, mechanic, nursery and/or clothing boutique that has what you need? They probably do, and they might have more personalized service and more one-of-a-kind items as well.
- Gifts from local shops make for unique presents. Or consider a gift card so you can encourage others to shop local, too.
- When looking for home or appliance repairs, do a little research. Find a local provider with great reviews and consider giving them your business.
Banking tools and resources that can help
We want to do our part to help you support local. Read on to learn about a few banking tools and resources that will allow you to build up your local community with confidence.
Use cash when possible
Small businesses sometimes prefer cash so they don’t have to pay fees for each credit card transaction. We have 56,000+ fee-free ATMs so you can grab cash fast: locate yours
Monitor your accounts
You’re starting to get out into the world again and we hope a big part of your post-quarantine fun will be spent at local establishments. But be sure to keep on top of your accounts now that you’re back in the world. You can check in on your finances through our mobile app and online, plus sign up for fraud alerts.
Use your Flagstar Visa® debit card anywhere you shop
You can spend with your Flagstar debit card everywhere cards are accepted. Connect your card to Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay and make purchases with a tap. And rest easy knowing your card features text fraud alerts, secure chip technology and zero-liability protection. Learn more here