Online shopping sure is easy. Sit in front of your computer in your comfy clothes, click a few times, and the item arrives on your doorstep.
But take a moment to think about the impact online shopping has on our community. Every time you “click” to shop, a local retailer suffers. Our local retailers rely on your walk-in business to survive. Without a continual stream of customers, we could potentially lose the small retailers who make our community unique.
In recent years, shopping small has become a popular topic, especially around the holidays. American Express created the holiday, Small Business Saturday, in 2010 to support the small businesses that keep our nation running, occurring the Saturday immediately following the ever popular Black Friday.
Additionally, the local economy suffers when you shop online. All local governments see a decrease in revenue every time a person “clicks” instead of visiting a local store. When you shop locally, the sales tax you pay funds our police, fire, streets, and park & rec departments. When a consumer buys local, significantly more of that money stays in the community. In fact, one Chicago study found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the city while only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer. With the financial state of affairs in Illinois State Government, we all know our local municipalities can use all of the revenue they can get to continue to provide needed services.
So what are the personal benefits when you shop
1. Unique items.
2. Exceptional personal customer service.
3. A chance to try things out or on before purchasing.
4. An environmentally greener item – no individual packaging for shipping.
5. A healthier family – When you buy from local farmers, you have access to fruits and vegetables that you know are chemical free, as well as grass-fed meats, fresh eggs, and dairy from cows that feast on local green grass each day.
6. A personal connection – When you personally know the people behind the business where you’re buying local products and services, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have.
7. The knowledge you are supporting a shop owner’s American dream.
Being a part of the Chamber of Commerce, we see how online shopping affects our local businesses. Downtown Belleville’s over 25 small retailers are struggling against the lure of online shopping. These shop owners, as well as all of the others throughout Belleville and nearby communities, are stocked up for holiday shoppers and are ready and eager for customers to walk through the door. We are making a pledge to shop as much as possible at these smaller retailers to keep our downtown alive and vibrant.
Think Big. Shop Small. Grow Belleville. Will you join us in doing the same?