Forget Global, Shop Local

Supporting Small Businesses Is Better

Charlie Warner, Managing Editor

Charlie Warner, Managing Editor, Columnist

Taking a walk through Zona Rosa or the Country Club Plaza in 2021, a shopper will mostly encounter chain or outlet stores and restaurants that are for the most part, chains. This used to not be the case, as both outdoor shopping areas were bustling with eager customers. But now online shopping and COVID-19 have left these areas with multiple empty storefronts. As of Sept. 16, 2020 the Country Club Plaza had more than two dozen empty storefronts, according to the Kansas City Star.

With that being said, now more than ever, it is important that consumers shop at local businesses. Local businesses help the city’s economy with more earned money going  back into the community, instead of going to a bigger, corporate conglomerate. According to research from a survey conducted by Intuit Mint, a personal financial management website, $48 went back into the local economies for every $100 spent at local businesses in 2021.

Besides benefiting the local economy, shopping small has many more humanistic benefits. For example, customers are the priority for local business owners because their reputations in the community are vital to their business. Also, customers are able to put faces to the business and have more of a connection when shopping. This leads to a more pleasant experience for the customer.

People may argue that local businesses are more expensive. While that can be true in some cases, in the bigger picture, it is actually better than saving a dollar or two at a big store because local businesses typically use local products and do not rely on imports. They are also more likely to have more ethical business practices than a lot of big companies, especially local clothing stores compared to fast fashion stores and websites. Additionally, local businesses have less of an impact on the climate as it takes less shipping of products than it does for big corporations.

Another way local businesses are a more viable option than big corporations is how they affect the industries they are in. Local clothing brands and local thrift stores and second-hand stores are much better for the clothing industry than fast fashion. Fast fashion is meant to be fast and trendy, which leads to the clothes lacking quality and being wasteful.

Fast fashion can also use unethical business practices and are not typically made in the United States. In the music industry, record stores are much better than purchasing music at places like Target, Wal-Mart and Vintage Stock. They work directly with small music labels and help the vinyl industry with the quantity of records made through preorders. These two examples can be applied to most types of local businesses, whether it is books and entertainment, home decor, etc.

There is most likely a local business that fills that same role as typical corporate stores. Instead of getting art framed at Hobby Lobby, go to Frame Works in Westport, Mo. Or instead of going to Barnes and Noble, go to Wiseblood Books and Mills Record Company in Kansas City. Even more local, instead of going to Dunkin’ or Starbucks, support The Friendly Bean or Headrush Roasters.

At the end of the day, shop local. Local businesses help out the economy, environment and have better relationships between the seller and consumer.