By Cally Reed, Program Associate, UNI CBGI
Last Saturday, I had a mini version of “Shop Local Saturday” (though the real one is coming up at the end of this month
, so mark your calendars!). I ate lunch at a authentic Mexican restaurant in downtown Waterloo, shopped at a vintage goods shop in historic downtown Cedar Falls and spent the rest of the afternoon at of our own gem of a mid-century-modern-themed coffee shop with a friend.
I feel good about my every one of purchase decisions (come on...is there really anything better than real corn tortilla tacos?!). Not only that, but I loved spending time enjoying the unique curation and intentional customer experience of each of these local shops. That inspired me to think more about why I love shopping local, here's just a few of the reasons I came up with:
I know I am not only getting the value of a great product (food, retail item, or tea), but the joy of knowing I am a part of something bigger than myself.
I get to invest in our community by preserving the cultures and businesses that play a major role in the personality and feeling of the sense of place in my hometown.
I know the owner of the vintage shop was the woman who checked me out at the register, it's cool to know the people who benefit from the purchases you make.
I get to directly support my neighbors when I make the choice to shop local.
Better quality products. Especially true when it comes to local "craft" restaurants or cafes, these owners usually do everything they can to keep your food local and reduce the impact to the budget and the environment while they do!
I get the value of knowing I am supporting the dreams of a real person, who is likely doing a little happy dance when I make a purchase at her business.
I was able to have a great conversation with one of the owners of the shops I visited on Saturday about how I loved her choice in carrying a certain stationary line, and the feel of her shop. I loved that when you voice your opinion to the owner of a small retail shop, you can be sure she does take the opinions of her customers into account the next time she goes to market. You don’t get that option in any big box store, online or in person.
This is an immediate reason you might also like to shop local: Your voice is heard.
Your money makes a difference in the lives of your community.
You can make a difference with a few dollars on a regular Saturday afternoon stroll down a downtown street with a friend.
Why do you shop local?