• Nov 24, 2013

In the past few years, it’s seems like everything’s coming up local. There are local food movements, local store nostalgia, and even entire days (like Small Business Saturday) intended to counteract the typically big box store focus of Black Friday.

Some people might think that all of this obsession with what’s local is just a fad: only a short-lived trend waiting to teeter off a cliff into obscurity.

THESE PEOPLE ARE WRONG.

In our semi-humble opinion.

Because when you shop at local, independent stores—when you visit the stores that are truly a part of your community—you do something amazing. In fact, you do lots of things that are amazing.

When you shop local, you get to know some of the coolest people you’ll ever meet.

Local business owners are passionate about what they do.

The people working in your local ice cream shop aren’t just serving up ice cream concocted in some factory kitchen a few states away. They’re serving up ice cream made right in your town. Perhaps they even know the person who made the ice cream. They might have even met the cow who made the cream that went into the ice cream. For real. (We’re looking at you, Jeni’s.)

And the people who work at your local grocery store? Your local wine shop? The local bakeries, the local toy store, the local furniture store? They’re all sure to know more about what they sell—whether it’s imported cheese or gluten free desserts or comic books—than almost anyone else you can meet in town. If you take the time to ask them about their work, you’re also sure to learn something exciting and unexpected.

You might even get the chance to learn the incredible story behind their store and their passion.

When you shop local, you have fun.

Sometimes local stores are quirky: they don’t have to fit a nationally mandated mold or model, so they can be as unique or creative as their owners want them to be.

Sometimes local stores fit such a narrow niche that you can’t help but delight in the fact that an entire store could be devoted to such a strange and wonderful theme. (Of course you can fill an entire store with olive oil and balsamic vinegars!)

No matter what, shopping at a locally and independently owned store is just as much a fun experience as it is a shopping experience.

When you shop local, you invest in your community.

Any time you shop local, your purchase helps to support those stores’ owners and employees. This is one of the more obvious ways that shopping at local, independently owned businesses equals community investment.

But the community investment goes much deeper than that. In fact, an article in Forbes from earlier this year reported that purchases made at locally owned businesses have been shown to have a two-to-four times greater economic development impact than purchases made at similar non-local businesses.

What does that mean? When you shop local, the money you spend has a significant impact on local jobs, local tax revenue, local wealth development, and even local charitable contributions from the store proprietors.

So see? We told you that shopping local was amazing! And in our minds, when you shop local, you can be amazing.

As a disclaimer: YES, the Robert Mason Company is a family owned and operated business: Robert’s mom and dad still manage the Ravenswood, West Virginia location! More than that, we’re a proud, passionate local business: our hearts will always be in Ravenswood and Columbus, no matter how far away we ship RM goods.