Summer breezes and calming sunshine encourage most people to wander through open parks and go on adventures of road trips. Sometimes we get a little too beaten down by the heat and prefer the comfort of A/C or shaded malls. If nothing, I just like aimlessly strolling through my local open-air market or mall and just window shop. Having lived in the same place for so long, I usually frequent the same places: the same indoor mall, the same boba shops, and the same shops as every other mall in America.
I'm making a more conscious effort, this summer, to visit more small businesses and boutiques to do exactly what I do in every other shop and mall, but just making a slightly more significant effort towards staying local. I worked on a high school project all about the importance of supporting small businesses and created an event with the city government promoting that community support. Since then, I've been keeping the importance of staying local in the back of my head. These summer months will be the result of actualizing those desires.
1. It's the more sustainable option.
One of the most sustainable options when it comes to shopping sometimes ends up being local businesses. Especially, if the products are locally made, as well. When it comes to local jewelry makers or designers, they make their products generally by hand, and so are their own source of labor.
You know that the products will be made ethically and that the materials and labor did not result in major pollution. Because of financial reasons, most small businesses also maintain sustainable business practices since they need to have the most efficient and reproducible processes to make a profit. Usually, these practices include recycling, reusing of materials such as water, and minimal material cost, without buying excess of any one thing.
2. They have the most unique products.https://www.pexels.com/photo/green-indoor-potted-plant-lot-793012/
The items that you find in a local business would generally be more unique than others simply because other people might not all have access or knowledge of the same shop you do. Although the whole purpose of maintaining relationships with small businesses, some people still might not. Then, they would most likely end up with the products and closets of others. You, on the other hand, would have your interesting necklace or differently-designed chair which is a point of difference between you and everyone else.
3. Business during the summer keeps small businesses going through winter.https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-and-black-floral-cap-sleeved-shirt-994523/
If you support local businesses during the summer, along with the tourist crowd (this works more if your town is a tourist/visitor town) then that level of business helps keep those shops going when the fervor dies down. Christmas shopping and other winter holiday preparation generally occur in big department stores or online, thanks to Amazon.
Therefore, small businesses are aided with an extra boost from summer sales before going into quieter months.
4. You get to know your community in wonderful weather.
It's likely that you'll become a regular after enough wandering through your mom-and-pop antique shop or the local bakery. It feels wonderful to be part of a community, a-la-Gilmore Girls, that supports each other (even though they may be a bit nosey). Walking around that wonderful spring/summer air, saying "hello" to people you know, and stepping into your local small business to grab a coffee or pick up that ring you saw last week, encapsulates that romantic notion of what summer is all about
So, support your local small businesses this summer for all these reasons and many more! You never know what you'll find or who you'll end up learning more about.