Contributor: Debbie Schaeffer is the President and CEO of Mrs. G TV, Appliances & Sleep Center in Lawrence, New Jersey. She is a crusader for supporting locally owned independent businesses and helped create the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce Independent Business Alliance an affliate of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).
With the help of the American Express Shop Small initiative, introduced in 2010, consumers today are getting the message that we must not forget about our local independent retailer, during the holiday shopping season and all year long. I hear more and more from our customers at Mrs. G TV, Appliance & Sleep Center that they shop with us because they want to support their local independent store. I have to believe that is a result of American Express Open and the efforts of local independent business alliances like the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce IBA and the Pennington Business & Professional Association sharing education about the benefits of supporting businesses within our community.
I love to talk to customers about their shopping habits, especially why they decided to shop with us. Most say it’s because of our great customer service, knowledgeable sales associates, and that our prices are very competitive. And of course, that’s all true. But let’s look at the bigger picture: Our local economy and the positive impact of shopping local.
There are so many blogs and websites written about the top 10 reasons to shop locally, but just recently a blog by USA Today Columnist Ronda Abrams caught my eye. I loved her title “Top 10 Reasons to Fall in Love with Shopping Local”. She writes from the eyes of a shopper and got right to the “heart” of the matter. She made it sound so romantic that I thought I would put my own spin on it with a link back to her blog.
If you follow the story of Steve Jobs, you know that he instinctively understood that the number “3” is a very powerful number to communicate a message. People can recognize or recall three things much better then 4 or 10.
Here is my list of the top 3 reasons for shopping local because you are helping:
1. Create jobs and opportunity! Independents employ more people directly per dollar of revenue. We are customers too. We use the services of local printers, lawyers, accountants, local food stores, and we expand opportunities to local entrepreneurs. Many of the local business owners are your neighbors. Create your own local multiplier effect: the boost to the local economy that results from locally-owned independent businesses, owners and employees spending business revenue within the region.
3. Strengthen your local economy. For every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 dollars goes back to the community. If you spend $100 at a local national chain, $42 dollars goes back to the community. When you shop online with a business without a brick and mortar store located in our community, ZERO is returned. If we can all “shift our shopping,” even if just 10% to independent local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 million per year to our community’s economy. That means better schools, better roads, more support for police, fire and rescue department and a stronger local economy.
I pledge to always think local first! Will you?
Happy #ShopSmall Shopping!