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Close-up of cashier taking credit card from customer at grocery store

In lean times, consumers pinch pennies and eliminate most luxuries. From cutting back on extras to more prudent spending and budgeting, people inject a degree of caution into their financial habits. In such a volatile environment, smaller, local businesses count on your patronage in order to stay afloat; every transaction is precious to them. So when deciding where to spend your hard-earned dollars on tonight’s dinner or a gift for a friend, consider the benefits of turning to local, independently owned businesses within your community.

There are far-reaching advantages to deciding to “shop local.” By supporting local businesses, you are in turn supporting your local economy; significantly more money stays in a community when purchases are made at locally owned – rather than nationally owned – businesses. The U.S. Small Business Association and the U.S. Department of Labor report the positive impacts of small, independent business on local economies.

  • Local businesses are more likely to utilize other local businesses such as banks, service providers, and farms.
  • For every $100 you spend at local businesses, $68 will stay in the community.
  • Independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales to the community in which they operate than chain competitors. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national restaurant chains.
  • Small businesses employ 77 million Americans and accounted for 65% of all new jobs over the past 17 years.

In addition to helping build the local economy, there are also notable intangible benefits that come from supporting businesses in your local community.

  • Local businesses are owned and operated by your neighbors!  They care about and are invested in the well-being of your community and its future.
  • Local businesses are more accountable to their local communities and donate more money to non-profits.
  • Supporting local businesses is good for the environment because they often have a smaller carbon footprint than larger companies.

It isn’t always the easiest or most convenient option to visit a local independent business rather than a large national chain that might be down the street. However, there are plenty of ways you can help support your local economy in Massachusetts by thinking local first:

  1. Try the menu at a local restaurant for lunch or dinner
  2. Purchase a birthday present at a local gift shop
  3. Join a local gym
  4. Visit a local nursery or hardware store for your lawn and garden needs
  5. Get your car serviced at a local mechanic
  6. Visit a Massachusetts farmer’s market to purchase the ingredients for your family dinner. There are Buy Local groups throughout the state advocating locally grown food products

So the next time you need to run out for some groceries or do a little shopping, seek out a local business and see what they have to offer!  You could discover some great products and services while helping to build a strong and successful community around you.

Join the conversation and tell us about a great local business in your community by tweeting @massgov

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