Local and small businesses are important. They give fresh financial blood to a community and can help improve conditions overall. In many ways, they also represent the local spirit and culture over the more generic trappings of a corporate chain.
Small shops are often the products of passion and genuine love. Theirs is not a manufactured presence, but something born out of a sincere wish to make money doing something they enjoy.
However, given the internet and expanding corporate reach, it can be hard to support one. After all, the big chains have better prices. Sometimes they offer better deals. It breaks my heart to see a small shop where I talked to the owner and got to know the people close.
So I asked a friend of mine, who runs a small store dedicated to hobby gaming, about how people can help. Being a smart guy, I figured he’d given it some thought. He did.
Sharing is the first thing he mentioned.
One of the keys to having anything take off is to get people talking about it. The same goes for a new store or business. You need to go out there and mention it to people, especially if they’re looking for an alternative to their current sources.
Another thing you can do is going to be hard: buy personally.
Put aside price and value calculations, if you can afford it. Instead, think about who you are buying things from. Is it this faceless monolith or Steve, the guy who asks how your day was as he brings up your items on the counter?
Buying from people you know, in the small shops you frequent, is a personal experience. It can feel less like a transaction and more like a friendly gesture. If you value the interaction, it makes paying just a little extra not hurt your wallet so much.
It also helps keep Steve in business and happy to serve.