When you shop local, you shop where your heart is. If you’ve been craving that intimate shopping experience that just isn’t possible when you’re adding items to your online cart, exit your browser window and shop at a store with a door.
After all, wouldn’t you like to support a local business where everybody knows your name?
“Our gyms are like the fitness version of Cheers: when somebody comes in, they are greeted by name and all the members know each other,” said Lesley Beck, who owns three 9Round Fitness franchises in Alberta with her husband Aaron, two of which are in smaller centres (Airdrie and Okotoks).
“We love operating in smaller communities because members of the community support each other and are big advocates of shopping local.”
There are so many amazing local businesses in communities across Canada. These local stores, owned and operated by hard working entrepreneurs, offer unique products, services and experiences that you can’t find anywhere else. Supporting these businesses promotes a strong sense of community.
“It’s important to support local businesses so the economy can thrive,” said Simcha Breslow, co-owner of Bubby’s New York Bagels, a kosher bakery with two locations in Toronto. “When people don’t spend money locally, local businesses suffer.”
There are many benefits for people to shop local:
Local businesses are one-of-a-kind
There may be a large variety of products for you to browse when you shop online, but it can be difficult to sort out the good from the bad since you’re not physically in the store. When you shop local, the products are proudly on display for you to view, explore and try on for size.
Local business owners are passionate and committed to delivering a quality experience to customers, whether they’re sitting down for a meal or purchasing a product.
Before Breslow and his business partner Sruli Portowicz launched their bakery five years ago – and then later opened up a second location in the city – they spent considerable time working to create the perfect bagel.
“Our bagels are handcrafted and kettle boiled,” Breslow said. “It’s very time-consuming, labour intensive and requires a lot more space. When we saw all the different options in front of us, it didn’t matter if this method was the most difficult because we knew the final product would speak for itself.”
Shopping local also leads to more unique experiences for customers. When you shop online, you’re choosing from hundreds of items that other people will already own. When you shop local, you may be the first person to purchase a particular piece of artwork or article of clothing.
In the case of the 9Round gyms that the Becks operate, customers are being offered a more unique workout experience. Instead of walking into a large gym and getting lost in a sea of different machines, 9Round members are led through 30-minute kickboxing-themed workouts that begin every three minutes.
“People feel welcomed when they come to our gym,” Lesley said. “We’re never going to have 1,000 members like a big gym; that’s not what our vision is. We’re creating an intimate experience where you know people and you see them get results.”
Your dollar goes further when you shop local
When you shop local, more money remains right in your community. One study found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 remained in the city, compared to $43 of each $100 spent at non-local businesses. Local businesses pay taxes that help support your community in important areas such as infrastructure projects and community programming. Purchasing local helps these businesses grow and make even higher contributions.
Growth also enables local businesses to hire people who live in the community. Bubby’s Bagels has around 10-15 employees at any time, depending on the season, while almost all of 9Round’s staff members are local residents.
“When you buy local from a florist or bagel shop, that shop will be sustained and stay afloat,” Breslow said. “You may not end up needing a job from that business, but you might end up knowing someone who’s hired as a result.”
Locally-owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms, instead of getting their supplies from corporate suppliers. Local businesses are invested in shopping local.
“We’re proud to source as many things locally as we can for our business,” Lesley said. “It’s important for us to shop local; they’re the ones supporting our business, so we need to give back to them. That’s what makes local business grow and it holds everyone accountable to their local communities.”
Competition is always good for businesses and local shops help drive the economy. Breslow feels that when people shop local, “the money goes around and around and the success goes around and around.”
Local businesses have a strong community presence
If there’s a worthwhile initiative or event in your community, you can bet there’s a local business or two offering their support. In an Instagram poll initiated by GetintheLoop, 97 per cent of respondents said local businesses are more supportive of the community than online businesses.
It has been reported that non-profit organizations receive 250 per cent more from small business owners than they do from large businesses.
Lesley noted that 9Round is proud to support the communities in which it operates in. The gym has held food bank drives and filled up backpacks for homeless people. At Christmas time, the gym has donated presents to deserving families and also taken part in adopt-a-family initiatives. Lesley said that members of the gyms have rallied around these charitable causes.
“We had a friendly competition where members could enter draws for as many items they were bringing in for the food bank,” Lesley said. “It was a fun thing. I don’t think they cared so much about winning some hand wraps for the gym because it was all about giving back. It’s nice to give back to the people who are impacted the most.”
Bubby’s Bagels also gives back to the community. When the bakery has leftover bagels at the end of the day, it freezes them and donates the food to charity. The bakery has partnered with various other charitable organizations.
“On a personal ethical level, it’s important to me and it generates good will,” Breslow said. “In the business sense, what goes around comes around. I find that people are somewhat ethical shoppers and they’re not purely making a decision on dollars or cents, but also what type of people run the business.”
GetintheLoop is a strong advocate of shopping local
Canada’s leading mobile offers platform allows you to “Shop Local. Wherever You Are”. We have many local businesses on our platform from coast to coast. The offers they post on the platform help inform customers about the unique gems located right in their communities.