The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

Our responsibility to small businesses

We should be shopping locally to help small businesses struggling during the pandemic. This is a mutually beneficial decision as small businesses have more to offer their customers than mega corporations.
Emmi Wu ’23
Graphic by Emmi Wu ’23/Staff

When buying products or services, you are faced with a choice. You can either buy from a local, small business or buy from one of many mega corporations. For many, this choice is not considered or even acknowledged. Despite this, it is imperative that people choose to shop at small businesses when given the opportunity. Small businesses are privately owned businesses that only exist in one community and have only one or a few different locations. There are several reasons why one should shop local.

Shopping locally is better for the environment than buying from large corporations. It’s common for small businesses to get their supply from places close to them. In contrast, big companies usually get their supply from factories far away from the actual stores. This results in more carbon emissions from trucks driving products across the country. When you support local businesses, you support fewer miles driven and less carbon emissions. Buying locally results in 25 percent fewer miles driven by vehicles. There is also less plastic packaging used when buying locally. Large companies often use plastic containers to ship their products. On the other hand, small businesses don’t use these containers as much and therefore use less unnecessary plastic. It is for these reasons that the National Resource Defense Council stated that buying local helps to reduce pollution and improve air quality.

Shopping at small businesses is also beneficial for you personally. With local businesses, there is typically a better relationship between customers and the business—you are seen as important and real relationships develop. It’s a personalized experience that results in higher-quality service and a more enjoyable time. Additionally, the food from local restaurants and markets is  often better than from large chains. Locally-grown food is generally picked with quality in mind and when the crops are at their peak. They are then transported a short distance to markets and restaurants. This way the food’s quality isn’t lost. In contrast, food from large companies typically travels long distances, sits in warehouses, and isn’t necessarily made with quality in mind.

Shopping at local, small businesses is also better for your community. When you buy from local businesses, you invest back into your community. Small businesses are responsible for creating two-out-of-three new jobs in the US. By buying local, you support job creation and help stabilize employment levels. Out of $100 spent in local businesses, $58 recirculates in the local economy. This recirculation figure is much greater than it is with large companies. More money in the community means a better quality of life for people and also that more money can be taxed. These extra tax dollars result in better education, health services, and road maintenance, among other things. Local businesses also donate more to local charities than large corporations. By shopping at small businesses, you are indirectly donating to charity. 

Due to COVID-19, people across the country have been struggling. That’s why it’s more important than ever to support local businesses. In this way you are helping your struggling community as a whole. A recent report by Yelp stated that from April to September about 160,000 small businesses have temporarily or permanently closed down, averaging out to be 800 per day. The report added that sixty percent of these 160,000 businesses are permanently closed as opposed to just temporary closed. Many small businesses don’t have the money necessary to survive the pandemic. 

In contrast, large companies have flourished in the pandemic. 45 of the fifty most valuable American companies have made a profit during the pandemic. These businesses have the money and resources necessary to survive the pandemic. Meanwhile, small businesses are struggling to get by. When you shop local, you help to keep these businesses alive. You keep a dream alive and allow for people to put dinner on the table. Large companies don’t need your money like small businesses do. 

In the modern world there are large businesses and small, local businesses. Despite the apparent shine of big businesses, you should take it upon yourself to always buy local when such is possible. This is even more important now with COVID-19. The next time you have the option to buy something, consider the greater impact on where you shop from and buy local.

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