Shop local a profitable mantra for all seasons

Small Business Saturday, a day to celebrate and support local shops and all they do for their communities, may have been observed last weekend. But that doesn’t mean the need to show love to local merchants is any less critical.

Hinsdale stores are eager to welcome patrons with unique items hard to find elsewhere in the area. And we should welcome to the opportunity to patronize them. Here are some reasons why, as articulated in an essay by Forbes Finance Council member Joseph Lustberg:

• By making a commitment to shop local or support small businesses, you cycle money back into your community. Large chain stores in neighboring towns may have deals and a more extensive selection of merchandise. But revenue generated through sale taxes from local businesses goes to the local government to be reinvested in the community.

• One word: transportation. A local small business tends to make more local purchases, which requires less transportation, i.e. less pollution and congestion. Additionally, since they are set up in a town or city, it will generally reduce traffic, habitat loss and resource depletion.

• According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses in the U.S. employ nearly half — 47.3 percent — of the private workforce. Small businesses are the backbone of the economy and help push economic growth and the local economy by opening up employment opportunities locally to people who may not want to be employed at big box businesses.

• Small businesses play a significant role in supporting local community charities and causes. It’s clear that local businesses benefit from a strong community; therefore, the owners tend to be more engaged members of the community themselves. Small businesses donate 250 percent more than large businesses to local nonprofits, youth organizations and community causes, creating a positive cycle of giving back locally.

• When it comes to a small-business owner, all purchases, deals and positive reviews matter. Local store owners value each of their customers, and their very livelihood hangs on their satisfaction. Unlike big chains, local businesses often hire people with proficient knowledge of the products they are selling or the ins and outs of the business they are running. Employees take the time to really get to know their clients and customers, making for an overall pleasant experience — and humans to quickly address any issues that come up.

• In order for small businesses to stay afloat, they need to stand out from their big box competition. This survival-of-the-fittest mentality compels small-business owners to innovate with fresh products that take new customers’ specific situations into account when assisting with their personal needs.

Hinsdaleans take pride in their business districts for their charming blend of offerings and inviting atmosphere. So let’s do what we can to put our shopping where our homes are and support the entrepreneurs who have made their passion their livelihood, created jobs and contributed to a community cherished for its quintessential village vibe. Take that gift list (see Page 5 for some great ideas) to some local stores and see what you find — and what finds you.