Will "the Mighty" Strohl

Why I Choose Small Businesses Over Chain Stores

I often elude to the fact that I favor patronizing small businesses on Twitter.  This is true.  If given the choice between a major chain and a small business, I will walk into the small business 9 times out of 10.  Why is that though?

In it’s simplest explanation, I like to spend my money in my community.  That money will have a greater chance of staying in my community, and in turn, benefitting my community.  Let’s give you an example. 

The biggest example of a chain store is of course Walmart.  They have the largest retail reach of any other retailer.  As a result, they are able to leverage their business size to create some of the lowest prices found on many products.  Sounds great if only looked at on the surface.  But when you buy a cart full of goods, how much of that money stays in the community?  Here is a short list off the top of my head:

  • Store Associates and Managers payroll
  • Annual business license
  • Annual business and property taxes

That may not sound all that bad at first, but that is only a small fraction of the money that they accept in each transaction. 

Let’s contrast that with a local business.  If you go to a small business in your own community, here is a layout of the money that potentially stays in your community:

  • Owner payroll
  • Stakeholders payroll
  • Store Associates and Managers payroll
  • Annual business license
  • Annual business and property taxes

There are only two more bullets in the previous list, but those bullets represent the bulk of the money taken in by any business.  Easily, that accounts for more than 50% of the businesses profits in any industry (as long as the company is a profitable one).  All of these associates, managers, owners and stakeholders will in turn spend most of that money on living expenses in your own community.  Not only that, but small businesses tend to support local sports, community programs, and charities.

In the case of the major chains, the stakeholders and owners likely do not live in your community, and as a result, some other community in another state will reap the benefits of those profits taken in by the business, not yours.  Your kids and neighbors kids will not sports equipment, uniforms, tutors, and so on from those funds.  Someone else’s kids across the county are.

Once we get past the money part, there are other perks about frequenting local and small businesses.  The customer service and product knowledge tends to be in many cases 100% better!  Local business owners are more likely to purchase local products from other local businesses, as they may cost less, and to help fellow business owners – benefiting more local people and families. 

Something else to like about small businesses, is that you can rest easy that they are more responsible businesses.  For example, a small business is far less likely to be blamed for, much less capable of doing half of the things that companies like Walmart has been accused of.  When I mention this, I am talking about human rights issues, equal rights issues, ecological missteps, etc.

I don’t know about you, but the part I love the most about small businesses is becoming a “regular” customer.  I love being able to walk into a business and everyone knows who I am, what I want, and so on.  It makes the trip to the store more pleasurable, and quicker. 

In the restaurant industry, this gets even better.  The recipes are usually less bland.  The major chains tend to remove some of the ingredients and flavors that are not mainstream nationwide.  Being a regular at a locally owned restaurant takes your experience to the next level.  You get to try new dishes first, get special discounts that no one else does, have your food prepared more expediently, and so on.  At one place I frequent, the owner steps into the kitchen and cooks my meal for me.  It’s nice.  Try any of that stuff at a Darden restaurant.

The next best thing to a small business is a franchise.  While more money may leave your community, a greater amount still stays in comparison to the typical chains.  And the rest of the perks I mentioned still apply.

It is my priority to help my community before I help yours, and you should feel the same way about your community.  Why not try skipping the major chains for a little?  Imagine if everyone made that effort.  Local economies would definitely get a surge of revenue.

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