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5 Convincing Reasons to Shop at Small Businesses Instead of Big-Box Stores

There’s no denying that big box stores are convenient. A single stop means being able to pick up your groceries, a new pair of shoes for the kids, and a lamp for the end table.

That’s nothing compared to behemoths like Amazon that sell literally everything under the sun! From books to sheets, furniture, and even artwork, you can save money and time shopping with brands that everyone knows.

It sounds like a win-win on the surface, but where you spend your money matters. That’s why the movement to buy local is spreading like wildfire, the traditional way of doing retail is dying, and the Retail Renaissance is upon us. More and more people are buying their food from local farmers, their clothing from real-life designers, and their furniture from artisans.

But why should you consider giving up your big-box store habit and turn to local businesses instead?

1. You’ll enjoy more personalized customer service

If you have a problem with an item that you purchased at a chain store, who do you turn to? Do you have to deal with a part-time employee at the customer service counter? Or maybe you have to call in, only to be put on hold and transferred multiple times?

These aren’t things you have to worry about when you shop at a small business.

Losing a single customer is a big deal to a small business, so they are more likely to give you their undivided attention. With fewer employees, you’re also more likely to speak to a real-life person who can provide you with a satisfactory solution to your problem right away. 

2. You’re more likely to find covetable, high-quality items

Think about how you felt when you found a shirt at a cute boutique, versus how you feel about the last shirt you threw in the cart when you were shopping for groceries at the same time?

Now, think about which one of those items is still in your closet?

You’re more likely to covet a handmade bar of soap or that boutique tee than you are a brand-name bar of soap or that shirt that looks like a million others.

The quality of the items you purchase is also likely to be much higher. Small businesses source items by hand, and many times, create those items themselves, so you know they’re good.

3. They are more likely to care about sustainability

Everything we do has a huge impact on the environment. How big is your impact? If you’re buying items from large chain stores, your impact is likely to be greater than if you purchased those same items from a small business. That’s because small businesses are more likely to care about environmental matters, and with fewer hoops to jump through, it’s also much easier for them to make decisions about where their materials come from and what they offer in the store.

4. They are more likely to give back to the community

When you spend money at a chain store, where does it go? It travels far, far away from home and goes towards paying for things that don’t directly impact the community.

That’s not the case when you shop at a small, local business. An average of 48-percent of purchases are recirculated locally when you spend money at a small business, while only 14-percent is recirculated locally when you shop at a chain store.

Not only are you keeping your money in the community when you shop small and local, these companies are more likely to use their profits to give back to communities in need. That might be the community where you live, or it might mean supporting a group of women in Africa. Either way, it’s better than that money ending up in an executive’s pocket instead.

5. You’re paying real people for their products and services

Are you paying the people who are creating the items you purchase for their time and effort? If you spent $10 on a pair of leggings, the answer is no.

One of the biggest arguments against small businesses is the fact that their products and services cost more, but that’s because their items are priced appropriately for the quality and service you’re receiving.

You can feel good about paying real people for their products and services when you shop at a small business instead of paying a corporate machine that divvies up their profits however they see fit.

By thinking small when it comes to where you shop, you’re actually thinking big. The next time you are faced with the decision to grab something at a chain store or buy it from a small business, we hope you choose the small business instead!



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