The American Express sponsored Small Business Saturday returns this week, marking the third year of the event urging shoppers to support independent businesses when it comes time to do some holiday shopping. Sure, the event's sponsor is a multinational credit giant, but that doesn't mean the message isn't on point. In fact, shopping small and local means more than just avoiding crowded parking lots. Much more.
So, in anticipation of Small Business Saturday, presenting the top three reasons to shop local and small this Saturday:
1. Do More with Your Dollar. For every $100 spent at a chain store, just $43 remains in the local economy. For local stores, that figure is $68. You're also likely to have an impact that's a little more difficult to measure, too. Local businesses tend to use other local businesses for services and product sourcing. Julie's Coffee and Tea, for example, finds local produce whenever possible.
2. Have a Chat. Human interaction is good for you, according to scientists who look into these kinds of things. They've studied the chemicals your brain releases when you come in contact with a friend or associate, and it turns out people like talking to other people. That's good news for small businesses, because small local businesses foster conversation and interaction. In fact, studies have shown you're almost three times more likely to interact with another customer if you're in a small store as compared to a bigger chain. So stay small, stay local, and chat up your neighbor. It's good for you.
3. Save the Planet Shopping local is better for the planet, too. Driving produces carbon emissions. Shopping is a huge factor impacting driving habits this time of year for most people. Shopping locally means less driving. Ipso facto, staying local equals less carbon in the atmosphere, slightly mitigating the impact of climate change. And since Alameda is quite pedestrian friendly, you can probably ditch the car altogether.
Keep it on the Island this Saturday. You'll help the planet, the local economy, and your social life.