Kicking off the summer month of July is Independent Retailer Month, recognized in various countries throughout the world as the event to celebrate independent retailers – the local “mom and pop” shops that bring both business and charm to our hometowns and cities. Here at MOVA International, we think that local businesses reflect the unique values and stories of our communities, on top of offering us an alternative shopping experience that we can’t find at big box stores. So what makes indie retail shopping so deserving of our attention? When you shop at an independent retailer:
1. You help keep money in your local economy
According to the official Independent Retailer Month event site, when you spend $1 at an independent retailer, you create $5 to $14 worth in value within that community. Your purchases help keep them in business and enable the local traders, designers, artists, food producers and suppliers that they support to grow as well. Your dollar can go a long way in building your local economy. On the other hand, when you spend $1 at a national store, 80% of the money leaves your community immediately.
2. You celebrate the distinctive character of your community
Think about the different towns you’ve visited and all the nifty stores that you ventured around for wacky souvenirs and vacation mementos. These independent retailers shape and create the community in which they do business. In a world where everything is becoming increasingly similar with big box businesses, communities with one-of-a-kind businesses have an advantage. By shopping at an independent retailer, you are promoting what makes your hometown unique.
3. You receive more personalized customer service
Generally speaking, you should expect that an independent retailer will provide more dedicated and hands-on customer service. The employees in these stores, many of which are family-owned, are committed to their businesses and are more likely to take time to get to know you. They are often more knowledgeable of the products that they sell and more flexible with their policies and support. Independent Retailers value being different.
4. You give back to your community
Independent retailers are owned by people who live in the community and are invested in the community’s future. Many of these stores hire local people to create more jobs in the community and donate proceeds from their profits to support local school sports teams and organizations or hold community events like book-signings.
5. You help the environment
Local stores help to sustain town centers and shopping areas which plays a role in reducing sprawl and automobile use to get to other areas.
6. You support uniqueness
As you’ll see in our highlight of MOVA independent retailers, local businesses each have reasons for why they began their business, some of which are based on their community’s needs and others on their personal hopes and dreams. By shopping at independent retailers, you invest in the unique stories of your community and make possible entrepreneurship and the American Dream.
7. You have access to items that cater to you
Whenever our company exhibits MOVA Globes at tradeshows, store buyers are always gauging whether our products would appeal to their customer base. Unlike big-box stores, Independent Retailers curate their own catalog; they offer products that are based on the interests and needs of their customers, guaranteeing a wider variety of choices. You’re bound to find an item that will get envious “Where Did You Get That??” questions from your friends and family, or one that will unlike anything else you own.
These are just a few of the many reasons why Independent Retailers deserve recognition for their contributions to our communities. We hope these reasons get you into the spirit of Independent Retail and inspire you to not only shop, but also to think independent.
Which independent stores do you shop at (or plan to shop at after reading this)? Enter our Independent Retailer Month contest and share with us a photo of your favorite local business (even better, of you shopping at the store) to shop for a chance to win a free 4.5” MOVA Globe!
And stay tuned throughout July for special Independent Retailer Month content here on MOVA International, including Q&A spotlights with some independent MOVA retailers.