Have you ever wondered what your local neighbourhood would look like without small boutiques, cafes, hairdressers, bakeries, barbers, restaurants, newsagents, delis, nick-knack shops and the likes?
I get it! Your preferred shopping mall offers all the conveniences under one roof. All the big brand label stores, the fast-food courts and a department store or two stocking everything you can think of and then some.
Actually, NO! I don’t get it!
All these (mega) malls try to outdo each other by becoming the next biggest and most upmarket but there really is little or no variety between one mall and the next. Every mall hosts the same big name retail brands stocking the same items and products. Where is the variety? Do we all want to look and buy the same? What’s more, where do you think the money you spend at a mall goes to? Local employment wages aside, ultimately the largest part of every dollar you spend at a mall goes to the corporations and their shareholders, which often means your money disappears overseas.
Instead of driving to a mall to support shareholders, I shop at and support the small and independent businesses in my area. Here are some reasons why:
Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centres, linking neighbours in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.
A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices and variety.
Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy
Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.
Local Character and Prosperity
In an increasingly homogenised world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.
Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
Public Benefits and Costs
Local stores in town centres require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and (mega) shopping malls.
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centres, which in turn are essential to reducing urban sprawl, car use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
A marketplace of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation, variety and competitive prices over the long-term.
Entrepreneurship and small businesses fuel Australia’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serve as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
Job and Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
Keep the soul of your unique community alive and take up the cause of supporting your local small businesses.