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The pandemic has certainly changed that way that we shop. While we used to think nothing of heading out to shop at a big box stores or the local mall, many of us are doing more of our shopping online. While our instinct may be to check the websites of the big online retailers, there are lots of perks to shopping the small, locally-owned businesses, beyond just helping out ‘the little guy’! 

Here in the Southern Georgian Bay area, we have so many amazing communities made up of towns, villages and hamlets. Each one has its own unique shops, cafes, farmer’s markets, bakeries and more – all of which depend on us to keep them going. We also benefit by being patrons at these local spots, even when we are shopping online. Here are four great reasons that will make you love shopping local. 

Strengthen the local economy

When a small business sets up shop, they immediately start fortifying the local economy. Business taxes get paid to the municipality, rents or leases are paid, and jobs are created. Further, it boosts a town’s appeal by not having boarded up or vacant buildings, and it helps preserve and enhance our town centres. If a community looks vibrant, it’s more attractive to potential home-owners, which further strengthens the economy!

Not surprisingly, local businesses also support other small businesses – whether it’s through purchasing items needed to run their operation, or supporting the trades, transportation, farming communities or other nearby services on a regular basis. This means that more money stays in the community. 

Environmental impact

Smaller shops and businesses make a much smaller carbon footprint on the planet – and we use less gas getting there and back, whether we are doing a curbside pick-up or having our purchase delivered. In fact, many of us can walk or ride a bike to our local shops, whereas bigger centres may not be as pedestrian or bike-friendly. There’s also less space needed for parking lots, and overall there is reduced traffic, waste, pollution, and mass transporting of goods. 

Convenience & service

Once we can get back to in-person shopping, we can save a lot of time and hassle by visiting a locally-owned small business. Instead of wandering around aisle after aisle at a big chain store or mall, we can usually find what we need in less time at the local shop, and if we can’t, we know there’s someone there who can help us. Additionally, small business owners are not dependent on a ‘head office’ who dictates their every move. They can adjust their products, services and policies to meet the unique needs of their customers. Sure, we may save money on some items at a big box store, but those savings often come at the cost of lost time, or sub-par service. 

Small business owners truly care about their customers, not just to keep their business going while competing with the bigger rivals, but because in most cases, the customers are also their neighbours. With that in mind, they work hard to give personalized, thoughtful service to keep customers coming back. 

Builds community

When we shop locally, we know that the business owners and staff are invested in the community; they care what’s going on. Many small businesses give to local charities, and also support the town’s team sports and schools through donations or sponsorships. You’ll often see local business owners take part in town celebrations, parades, and holiday events. 

The distinctive shops, restaurants and markets in our area help make each community vibrant and special, and we do a great service by patronizing the ‘mom and pop’ operations whenever possible. If you’re looking for a more local feel and a strong sense of community, we’ve sure got an abundance of that here in in Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Meaford, The Blue Mountains, and Grey County! We’re very committed to this amazing region, and we’d love for you to be a part of it.

If you’re looking to purchase a home, condo or business property, connect with one of our experienced REALTORS® at Clairwood Real Estate and call (705) 445-7085.