In this season, families all across the U.S. are shopping for gifts. Most people are familiar with Black Friday—but a new movement gaining popularity is Small Business Saturday, where shoppers intentionally buy from smaller businesses rather than large, nationally-owned corporations. Why might so many people be choosing to shop local?

Benefits to Shopping Local

There are several benefits to shopping local, according to many research groups. For example, Michigan State University, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and more, all found that local businesses were much more beneficial to local economies than large corporations.

The 2010 MSU study found that local businesses keep money in the community by spending money on local marketing, business services, supplies, and more—whereas nationally owned corporations export all of these.

Time Magazine compared money in a local economy to blood: if it’s moving, that’s good—but if it’s only flowing out, that means you have a wound!

Local Businesses are Also More Reliable

Local businesses are also more reliable, meaning that they are less likely to leave their city or town for the promise of greater profit. This means greater job stability. In fact, that same MSU study showed that local businesses create two out of every three new jobs.

Local businesses have many incentives keeping them from packing up shop, especially their own families and community relationships.

They are actively invested in staying in and improving their communities, whereas larger corporations are primarily interested in making as much profit as possible.

Many large corporations may move to a town, take advantage of tax incentives, and then leave when things are less profitable—leaving behind a broken economy and hundreds of layoffs, not to mention large abandoned buildings and parking lots.

Local businesses aren’t about to move overseas in order to avoid taxes or new business regulations. In fact, a study quoted by BALLE showed that, when it comes to net jobs, nonlocal jobs in a town in Oregon were thirty-three times more expensive to the local community and economy than local jobs, largely because they were so likely to take tax incentives and then leave.

Better Customer Experience

Another benefit of local businesses is that they create a better customer experience by ensuring diversity in their products and preserving community character. When it comes to “Best Restaurants” in Santa Maria, CA, for example, you won’t see many large chains topping the list.

Local businesses add character and charm to any town, and showcase the diversity and interests of the unique residents. When traveling, why go the same stores and restaurants you can find anywhere instead of having a unique and interesting experience locally?

Large corporations can create homogeny, and can make fascinating fringe products or experiences go extinct.

Many smaller stores offer a better experience because of their community relationships. A small business owner is interested in getting to know his or her customers and building relationships in the community, and is also able to give knowledgeable local recommendations.

The average large corporation worker simply can’t do that.

Support Your Local Business

At Zierman Plumbing & Heating, for example, we know the benefits of being a smaller, local business because we are one. We know that when it comes to heater repair and maintenance, or heating and plumbing, there are many big-name options out there.

But if you’re in Santa Maria and are interested in continuing to see our unique community thrive, Zierman is your local option.

Whether you’re looking to repair your furnace or you just need a plumber, Zierman is happy to help. Don’t let Small Business Saturday be just once a year — call Zierman today to support your local business!

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