You hear your friends, coworkers and local Chamber of Commerce say “shop local” all the time, but what’s the big deal about it? Does it really matter that much?
The simple and easy answer is “yes.” How and where you spend your money is critical when it comes to the viability of local businesses and the impact your dollars have on the community of Stillwater.
Shopping locally means different things to different people, but it encompasses any dollars you spend within Stillwater’s city limits. Every business in Stillwater contributes to sales tax and other funds that help improve the infrastructure in our community. The money you spend locally helps improve roads, support public safety and emergency services, and fund quality of life projects. When you choose to eat at a Stillwater restaurant instead of driving to Tulsa, your money is more likely to be spent on initiatives that help the community you care about grow to be a better place to live and work. When you choose to buy shoes at a Stillwater retailer instead of on Amazon, you support your friends and neighbors in making a living that in turn makes Stillwater a unique place to visit. Without these local businesses we know and love, Stillwater would lose its personality.
When you support local business owners, you’re impacting the local economy with more than just your sales tax dollars; these businesses employ a large percentage of the Stillwater population and are the first to step up to the plate when there is a need for support or donations for local causes. You also don’t pay for the packaging, shipping and transporting of the products, making the process more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly. You also get the added benefit of supporting local entrepreneurs who have every reason to support your businesses and ideas. They keep the Stillwater market viable for new businesses, which brings new concepts to the community and keeps the established ones thriving. Our community is uniquely positioned to be an entrepreneurial hub in the state due to the institutions in Stillwater that want to see entrepreneurs succeed. Initiatives like Startup Stillwater aim to create a successful business community that invites newcomers with new ideas, but we cannot support this ecosystem without the help of local consumers.
Local businesses often hire people who have a better understanding of the community and the products they provide. Who doesn’t love going straight to the source instead of calling a 1-800 number for customer service? Your friends’ and neighbors’ smiling faces are worth every penny! When you buy products from their stores, you create buying patterns that help these retailers base their selections on what shoppers actually want, guaranteeing a good pick of your favorite clothes, foods and merchandise in your favorite local stores.
So yes, to your benefit and the Stillwater community’s, shopping locally is an incredibly important part of supporting the city you love. If you want to be a part of strengthening our local ecosystem, be sure to save the 2019 dates for National Small Business Week (April 29-May 5), Crazy Days (July 18-20) and Small Business Saturday (November 30)!