Today is "Small Business Saturday" or "Shop Small" day, a day designed to encourage consumers to shop at local stores and boutiques rather than global chain stores. What's the diff? Think about both your community pocket book, and the planet.
On the pocket book side, according to this nifty info graphic from elocal.com, "if the people of an average American city were to shift just 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 million per year to the community’s economy." How? By keeping profits at home rather than sending them abroad. Plus, favoring local stores keeps neighborhoods vibrant. I see this in my own town, where our mainstreet bustles with boutique shops that offer one-of-a-kind treasures, the post office and hardware store provide the basics, and the restaurants support shoppers and shop keepers alike. If we didn't have local stores, our downtown would be a dead end: bleak, dreary, and drab.
On the environmental side, it turns out that buying products made locally helps reduce the climate change impact associated with shipping goods made in China or India half way around the world. We've gotten used to the idea of buying food produced locally - it tastes better, is fresher, and is often treated with fewer chemicals and preservatives because it goes from farm to farmers market to table in short order. Buying locally made clothes, crafts, and housewares may have the same benefits: better quality, more unique characteristics, and plus, it's fun to know who made the items you buy.
Wondering where you can find items on your shopping list that are sold by local stores or made locally? Plug your zip code into this cool "finder" at American Express, grab your reusable shopping bags, and go!