Why you should shop local

By now, you’ve probably heard a pretty common phrase from the small-business world that goes something like this: when you shop local, a real person does a happy dance. It might sound a little trite, but it’s true. For many small-business owners, each new sale can help pay for professional development classes, needed software or their child’s new soccer jersey. And, especially during a pandemic, those sales can mean the difference between making rent and putting food on the table – or not.

That’s why there’s such a push to support the shop-local movement this year. I realize not everyone has the means to buy anything right now (let alone Christmas gifts), but if you’re able to shop, here’s why you might want to consider buying from local, small businesses when you can. A lot of these reasons are money-related, so just bear with me. I promise there’s no math!

What does “shop local” mean?

But first, let’s clarify something. What exactly does “shopping local” mean? Definitions vary, but it basically refers to when consumers (that’s you) choose to buy groceries and goods from local businesses instead of large retailers. Your “local” radius can include shops down the street, or places in your neighbourhood, city, province and country. It’s the same as “shopping small” and supporting small businesses over big-box stores.

10 reasons to shop local

There are SO many reasons to shop local if and when you can, but let’s narrow things down to the top 10. If another one is on your mind, just drop it in the comments! After all, Small Business Saturday is only a few days away, and many local entrepreneurs need all the help and love they can get!

1. It boosts the local economy, because shopping local keeps your money in the community. Small-business owners and creatives are also more likely to turn around and support other local businesses.

2. It provides local jobs, since (pretty logically) local businesses hire local people. This can also reduce commute times and pollution overall. It’s a win for the community and the environment!

3. It helps charity organizations, because local business owners statistically support local charitable causes and not-for-profit groups more than other companies.

4. It builds character. Sure, we can mean it helps us as individuals, but small businesses also add diversity to a community. That’s how you end up with an eclectic mix of businesses like those on the Osborne strip, down Corydon or in the Exchange District.

5. It creates personal connections, especially if you get to know the people who make, source and sell the things you buy. There’s honestly no better way to meet your neighbours. Even if you shop online, so many local makers include personalized notes with every order. And you might get to meet these folks during order pickup or delivery.

6. It often means quicker delivery. Forget about two-day shipping for a minute. So many Winnipeg businesses offer same-day pickup and quick delivery turnaround. There’s (usually) no waiting!

7. It supports local artists. This should be pretty obvious, but shopping local helps out the designers, painters, crafters and other artisans in your community. You’re supporting the arts and may not realize it!

8. It benefits the environment, because orders aren’t often shipped from other countries, minimal packaging is involved in many cases, and you can often walk or cycle to local shops near you.

9. It means consumers have more choices. A diverse market with lots of small-business options means you can choose where to shop and what to buy. You aren’t as limited in terms of variety and price points.

10. It includes you. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are often invested in their local communities, and they want to create the best services, goods, experiences and communities for YOU. People aren’t kidding when they say you can “vote with your dollars,” because small businesses can have a HUGE impact.

How to shop local in Winnipeg (and beyond)

If want to shop local but aren’t sure where to start, that’s okay! Finding small businesses can be a little overwhelming, especially if you’re used to buying most things in one place, like a major department store. Most stores, makers and artisans specialize in one or a few areas, but directories can give you the experience of (almost) shopping in a mall.

Black Owned Business Manitoba created an entire directory of Black businesses, makers, creatives, freelancers and professionals to highlight and promote these people and their communities. You can search their massive list by name, category or keyword, and you know we’re on there!

Good Local does things a little differently and showcases individual products for sale at different Manitoba retailers. You can add an entire grocery list’s worth of goodies to your cart and have everything delivered, if you live within Winnipeg’s perimeter – but they’re working to expand!

Third + Bird runs some of the most famous makers’ markets in the country. The pandemic really switched things up, but you can see a complete list of their 2020 Christmas Market vendors online. Just click the links to shop goods from Evergreen Ceramics, Fresh Emblem, Little Brown Jug and more.

Of course, there’s always the slightly old-fashioned way to shop online: visit your favourite business’ website! Our webstore is up and running, and all Winnipeg deliveries are FREE. So what’re you waiting for?


Leave a Reply