Shop local?

A lot of people think it’s important to “shop locally”. Or, they think it’s important to shop at small businesses.

My question is…why?

Companies such as WalMart get bashed regularly for destroying small business. People encourage others to NOT shop at these big box stores and instead, we should support local businesses.

Again, my question is…why?

Here in West Virginia the largest employer in the state is WalMart. Most of their employees are from the area, live in the area, shop in the area, pay taxes in the area. Should we boycott them which would result in all of those people losing their jobs? (maybe small business would pick them up…but maybe not). Personally, I don’t shop at WalMart very often but it’s NOT because they aren’t a WV based company (I don’t shop there because it’s not convenient for me, it’s crowded and I think there are better alternatives)

Other people say they never eat at chain restaurants. Again these chain restaurants are employing people, are paying taxes and while their parent companies might be based elsewhere they are supporting the local economy. If the reason for not eating at a specific chain is because you don’t like their food, that is fair but the blanket statement of “I wont eat at any chain restaurant” seems a bit narrow minded. Furthermore, what is a chain restaurant? We have an excellent new restaurant in town called Blacksheep Burrito. It’s their second location (the first one is in Huntington, WV). Does a second location make it a chain? If not, how many more excellent restaurants do they need to open before we call it a chain and then shouldn’t eat there? When their success hits a certain level do we then penalize them?

Another issue is online purchases. When we buy online from a non local company we aren’t supporting our community. While this is true, what makes our community more important than others? If our purchase helps a person in another state (or country) survive, isn’t that good? Is John Doe from down the street a more important person than Jane Doe in another state?

Personally, I do prefer to shop at small businesses but it’s because they sometimes offer a more personal touch. If I can go into a shop and the owner is there and knows the business and is helpful I appreciate it. On the other hand, if the owner is never seen, and management isn’t helpful, what difference does it make if they are down the street or across the country?

Just something to think about.

Have a great day!

Lawrence

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