“Shop Local” is a catchy phrase that is used often. Sometimes we don’t realize how important to the community it really is to shop local. By shopping locally, you create jobs, fund more city services through sales tax, invest in neighborhood improvement and promote community development. Ninety-one percent of local business owners contribute to their community, including schools, nonprofits and community groups, by volunteering and making donations.
Small local businesses account for a large share of new jobs created each year, and locally based businesses provide some of the most stable employment opportunities in a community. These employees in turn spend the money that they have earned locally in the local economy, and that money will shift hands many times, further stimulating our local economy.
Local businesses offer shoppers unique products and services. Independent shops create distinctive shopping experiences and respond more quickly to the needs of local customers, stocking products to meet the changing population’s needs. Research shows that small business owners compete by focusing on customer service and quality goods. Local business employees take the time to get to know their customers, for they know that repeat business is vital to their survival.
Local merchants live in the community and are committed to its future. Local entrepreneurship fosters economic innovation and prosperity. The success of locally owned, independent businesses provides real-life inspiration to our young people, proving that they can stay in Charleston and prosper on their own terms.
In an increasingly standardized world, it is important to support what is unique and special about our community. I feel strongly that the support, retention and expansion of our local businesses will only enhance our overall economic future. By shopping locally, you are investing in Charleston and helping to foster a climate that is more likely to attract entrepreneurs and new investment.