Whether you’re shopping for weekly groceries or a brand-new car, every purchase has a ripple effect that extends far beyond yourself. The way we spend money impacts other peoples’ lives, communities, and the global economy. It’s easy to thoughtlessly choose the cheapest, most popular, or most convenient option on the market—but have you ever considered that shopping this way might not align with your values? In this article, the importance and benefits of supporting small businesses, shopping local, and buying American-made products are thoroughly explained.
Supporting Small Businesses & Local Businesses
In a world where Amazon packages pile up on front porches and chain fast food restaurants seem to pop up overnight, it’s important to remember the little guys. Small businesses are a core aspect of what makes America great, proof that the American dream can still exist. Help small businesses succeed by spending your money with small businesses over large corporations in your hometown, on vacation, and online. Small businesses help communities, create jobs, and offer customers a number of benefits that large corporations do not provide.
Relationships & Customer Service
When you do business with a big corporation all they care about is the bottom line. Small businesses care about their customers and as a result they provide superior customer service, attention to detail, and express genuine gratitude for your business. Their success is largely dependent on repeat business, so small businesses value each customer and will work to establish a good relationship.
Every town, city, and neighborhood is unique. Local restaurants, stores, and salons, all bring character to an area, and their success is largely dependent on the people that live there. Attending farmer’s markets and art festivals is a great way to support local farmers and artisans who don’t have a store front. Shopping locally is good for the community, economy, tourism, and it celebrates what makes your home town special.
One of the reasons that small businesses can succeed in an economy dominated by massive restaurant franchises and box stores is their individuality. They must be creative and innovative to succeed. Small stores and boutiques carry things that massive retailers do not. Items are carefully selected to create a totally unique shopping experience. Small restaurants are built around the passion for food. One-of-a-kind recipes and attentive staff set small restaurants apart from chains.
Supports the Community
Small businesses and small business owners are often active members of the community, sponsoring rec sports, charities, schools, and more. Businesses thrive when communities are thriving and vice versa, so they do their part to support their community. Small businesses also pay sales and property taxes that support community infrastructure and create jobs.
When you visit a new city, do you go to chain restaurants and stores that you can find anywhere? Of course not, because you want to experience a piece of what makes the city unique. Supporting local businesses in your area protects the individuality of your town and encourages tourism which bolsters the local economy.
How to Support Small Businesses
There are several ways to support small businesses in addition to spending money with them. Help them gain more business by telling your friends and family about them. Writing a review when you have a positive experience is a great way to get more people through their door. Buy gift cards to encourage others to check out the business.
Buy American Made
If you are proud to be an American, one of the best ways to show your patriotism is to purchase items that are made in the USA. These days, many large corporations that are based in the United States outsource their manufacturing to foreign countries. Offshore manufacturing is a cheaper option for companies and as a result the products are sold at a lower price; however, there are non-monetary costs for consumers to consider.
Ethical Treatment of Workers
One of the reasons that foreign-made products are often cheaper than American-made products is the difference in factory workers’ wages. You’ve probably heard of sweatshops—unethical factories that force their employees to work long hours in terrible conditions for very little money. Purchasing from companies that use sweatshop manufacturing contributes to the problem. To put it into perspective, the United States federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour, and some states have minimum wage requirements as high as $17.00/hour. In Bangladesh, one of the biggest garment manufacturers in the world, the minimum wage is $39.00/month. When you buy American made products you are supporting companies that pay their employees fairly and avoid the temptation to save money with unethical sweatshop labor.
Creates Jobs & Improves the Economy
Companies that manufacture in the United States provide jobs and will continue to create job opportunities in the future as the American manufacturing industry grows. With the rise in foreign manufacturing, the United States economy has become increasingly dependent on other countries. Buying items made in the USA keeps money on American soil, boosts the economy, and increases economic independence.
When you buy an item manufactured overseas, it travels by truck and then by boat or plane to reach the United States. Buying items made in the United States reduces pollution and your carbon footprint because the item is transported a fraction of the distance. Factories in the United States also create less pollution compared to most foreign manufacturers that have loose or nonexistent environmental regulations. American factories must abide by the government’s environmental protection laws. The American Clean Air Act monitors air pollution created by factories and requires factories to operate within a set of standards and take action to reduce pollution when they exceed these standards. The Clean Water Act regulates water pollution in the same manner.
Ethics and patriotism aside, items made in the USA are superior in quality. Foreign manufacturers prioritize speed and use cheap materials and labor. American manufacturers have more skilled workers and use superior raw materials because their main goal is creating a high-quality product. Products made in the USA tend to be a little more expensive than items manufactured overseas, that’s because they are worth more. Cheaply made goods from overseas cannot compete with the durability and craftsmanship of American made products.
Shop Local, Shop American Made, Shop Amish Elegance
Amish Elegance is a luxury furniture store located in the Knoxville area. They have a wide selection of bedroom, dining, living, office, and outdoor furniture in modern and traditional styles. When you see and experience the quality of Amish Elegance furniture, you will know it was made right here in the USA. Their pieces are handcrafted by master furniture makers with the finest woods. If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for on the showroom floor, you can collaborate with the design team to create a custom piece.