The thoughts behind this article came quite a few months back while I was sitting in a local coffee shop over spring break. I ended up spending close to two hours there working on some school work. During that time, I was struck by how different local coffee shops are from larger corporations. Local small businesses are a special part of many communities across the nation.
Here are just eight reasons to support your local coffee shop.
Run by people, not boards or stockholders
Their work is a reflection of themselves. Most small business owners start out because they love what they do. Your local coffee shop is run by people that live in your community and care about its people, not boards or stockholders in a far off city who have no idea what your community is like.
Individual and unique
Almost every local coffee shop has a signature roast or drink. It is something they are known for that you probably won't find anywhere else. Most also have a certain vibe or environment they like to create in their shop, making each once a unique experience.
Support community and local relationships
Local coffee shops are part of, not just in a community. In some neighborhoods or town, the local coffee shop is the defining feature of that community. They have incentive to get involved in local events and clubs and invest in the community. The community that they are in is the community that supports them. A large chain doesn't need to rely on the community; they have enough business from people just passing through. There is less incentive to relate to the everyday people of that community.
Care about quality and service
As stated earlier, their work is a reflection of who they are. They care about their work and the people who support them. The local community is also their source of income. The better service and relationship they have with people, the better their business does. In a larger corporation, if the shop doesn't have great quality or service, sure they may get scolded by management, but they will still get paid no matter what. A local shop is supported by local people. If they don't provide good service, they will lose their own money. A lot more is at stake for a small business.
Creates and offers choice
Each local coffee shop is a little different. Some have signature drinks or ways of doing things that set them apart. Larger chains are nearly identical. The same look, the same menus, the same ways of doing things. With a local coffee shop, the consumer is given choices.
I was in a local coffee shop called Hinees in San Antonio, Texas this past spring break. As I sat there, one of the owners was going table to table talking to people and asking how they are doing. He sat outside with several people for a good 20 minutes. Can you imagine this ever happening at a Starbucks or other large chains? People get into this business because they love coffee and people. At a local coffee shop, that love of people is especially evident. Not only are owners invested in a personable and welcoming coffee shop, but the baristas and other staff are also friendly.
Your money helps people in your community
Your local coffee shop is owned and run by people in your community. They could be your next door neighbor or someone you run into at the grocery store. When you support your local coffee shop, you are supporting the people you do life with. Granted, large corporations also hire local people, but they are not nearly as invested in the community as a small business would be.
Local shops are more likely to cater to their local customers
National corporations are all the same and don't have much choice, but locally owned businesses have more freedom in decisions. They have the ability to make unique drinks named after some local people or things or support other local businesses by partnering on merchandise and other goods. Local coffee shops have more freedom in their choices and are therefore able to cater to their customers more.
So, as you go about your life, remember to support your local small businesses. They create a sense of community, and you'll probably make a few friends along the way.