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By Erin Bernie

5 reasons to support small businesses

5 Reasons to support small businesses

Support local businesses that are owned and operated by your neighbors!  Caring about and investing in the wellbeing of their community and its future. Here's 5 reasons why you should support small businesses:

They Give our Neighbourhoods Character 

You’re driving on a highway somewhere in Canada, and you see a McDonald’s, then you pass by a Walmart. Where are you? Well, you could be anywhere really (I suppose the weather app, or your Google Maps would give you some indication of your whereabouts. But the point is that these establishments could be anywhere in the country.

Small businesses are what differentiate cities and neighbourhoods from one another - they are what give them a spark! From that local coffee shop down the street from you, to the second-hand bookstore owned by your friend’s aunt, to the small family-owned restaurant around the corner - these are the businesses that really give our communities character. 

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Unsplash via @single_lens_reflex

The Personal Connection 

You order a few candles from a local candle-shop you discovered on Instagram. You pick them up and find a hand-written note, thanking you for your support. Wow, you think to yourself, Amazon could never. Knowing the people behind the product and the services you pay for really enhances the whole buying experience. 

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Photo by Erin Birnie

Reinvestment into the Local Economy 

When you purchase at local stores, you are putting the money back into your local economy. This not only creates jobs for people, but also stimulates the economic growth of your community! In Canada, a net employment growth of 35.8% between 2014 and 2019 came from small businesses alone. 

They Need Support Now More Than Ever 

A study conducted in the U.S found that small businesses have had a revenue decline of 52% due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a reality in Canada too. Many small businesses have been unable to pay their employees during periods of lockdown.

As a result, those unable to work have been relying on the government financial aid programs. With the greatly reduced revenue, many businesses have been struggling with their rent, and only 1 in 5 were able to negotiate a reduction.

Unfortunately, there have been numerous businesses that have had to shut their doors forever. Small businesses need us more than ever before - so let’s support them! 

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Unsplash via @timmossholder 

Every Sale Makes a Difference 

Did you know that Starbucks’ net worth was a whopping 28.2 BILLION USD in 2020? Now, imagine you bought your $5 latte from a local coffee shop. That $5 latte means a lot more to that small business than it does to a multinational corporation. Every sale (big or small) is sure to put a smile on a small business owner’s face. 

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Photo 4: Unsplash via @timmossholder

Small Canadian businesses (under 100 employees) make up 97.9% of all SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) in Canada, as of December 2019. Whenever you are making a purchase, ask yourself - could I purchase this (or something similar, maybe even better) from a small business?

Next time you’re about to walk into a Starbucks, maybe you hit the next block instead to get your caffeine fix from a local cafe. In my opinion, nothing compares to small, local café vibes. Maybe you go to the cute, quirky kitchen store owned by a small local family to get your spices… instead of Amazon.

Maybe you order your tampons from ONLY, (a female owned Canadian small business) rather than buying the classic drug store brand. It takes time to transition from what we know and what we are used to, but even changing where you purchase a few items a month will have a significant impact on the success of small businesses near you!