17 Jun The Perks of Shopping Local
Do you consider yourself an online shopper? When it comes to holiday shopping, is Cyber Monday more your style than Black Friday? If you need new clothes, do you find yourself surfing the web more than walking the mall? Is your favorite bookstore on your e-reader? Do you order your toilet paper or other necessities on Amazon and have them shipped to your front door?
Many of us can answer ‘yes’ to at least one, if not all, of those questions. Internet shopping can be both convenient and cheaper than shopping at a brick-and-mortar store, but you might be cheating yourself, your community, and the environment. Read on to find out why we all should shop local!
Local businesses are the backbone of our city’s economy. Researchers from Chicago showed that for every $100 you spend at a national or chain company, less than half ($14-$43) gets recirculated back to the local economy. By contrast, for every $100 you spend at a local small business, $68-$86 gets put back into the local economy. They also pointed out that for every $100 you spend online, the only money being returned to your community is the couple dollars being paid to the delivery driver.
How does this work? First, small businesses provide jobs for your neighbors rather than outsourcing jobs to other states or countries. When your neighbors have jobs, they have money to purchase goods and services from other local businesses in the community, which means those businesses can afford to hire more local folks who can then also contribute to the economy. It’s a prosperous cycle! The Visage Group employs 170+ people from Knoxville and surrounding areas, and we encourage our staff to patronize other Knoxville businesses.
Furthermore, when you shop locally not only are you supporting local jobs, but you are also supporting the local government with your taxes. Taxes collected from goods and services purchased in your community may go toward maintaining schools and roads in your neighborhoods. When you shop online, you may pay your state’s sales tax or you may not. In general, the taxes paid on online purchases rarely contribute specifically to your neighborhood. I don’t know about you, but I want my tax dollars to be put to work in my county where my neighbors, my family, and I can enjoy the benefits! At Salon Visage, Spa Visage, and Frank’s Barbershop, you aren’t charged taxes on your services, but you do pay sales tax on products.
Shopping online usually includes having to ship your goods. More shipping means more dollars being spent out of your wallet, but more shipping also means more pollution! When you shop for local goods and services, you reduce your carbon footprint in two ways. First, you eliminate the need for excessive packing materials like cardboard boxes, adhesive paper labels, and styrofoam packing peanuts, which otherwise would have ended up in a landfill. Secondly, when you buy an item from a few blocks away rather than having it shipped from a warehouse miles or hundreds of miles away, you save on transportation emissions.
Additionally, many local businesses give back to the community by donating to area charities or churches. There are certainly online retailers who give generously to charity, but according to a study by American Express, small businesses (especially those led by women – here’s looking at you, Belinda Gambuzza!) are more likely to give back to the community than large corporations. Here at Salon Visage we have donated more than $50,000 to Knoxville-based charities already this year!
Let’s be honest, some things you just can’t get online. One example: Relationships. People who shop local can build relationships with their retailers, and that means better customer service and maybe even special deals for client loyalty. To an online retailer, you are a name amongst millions of names, not a person with a unique story and individual needs. To a local business, you are a valued customer, friend, and neighbor, so it’s certainly in our best interest to serve you graciously.
Another example of what you can’t get online: Salon-Quality Haircare Products. We are NOT just saying this because it’s our job to sell you products! We care about our clients, and we have had several who have told us their online beauty shopping horror stories. One lady wanted to try to get a better deal on Kerastase products from buying through Amazon, but when her products were delivered, they were fakes! She came to Salon Visage to buy real Kerastase and shared this story with us, saying that she used the fake products one time and they smelled terrible and made her hair so dry that even her scalp began to flake. There are hundreds of reviewers on Amazon who echo her account. Many people don’t realize that Kerastase products are only available through the Kerastase website, for the same price as we sell them at Salon Visage plus shipping costs, and our BioEssence products (the Visage signature hair care line) are not available online at all, so you can only get them at Salon Visage.
Sure, online shopping can be awesome, especially for introverts, but there isn’t anything more awesome than building a strong community, and shopping locally helps do just that. Next time you stop by Salon Visage, Spa Visage, or Frank’s Barbershop, tell us about your favorite local businesses so we can be better local shoppers, too, and we will all build a better Knoxville together.
Until next time, stay beautiful, inside & out…