There’s been occasional pulses of information encouraging everyone to “buy local”, and I’d like to add my two cents’ worth on the subject. It’s important to consider, particularly in this day when being price conscious can be the difference between eating and not eating for many people.
The first question that comes up is: “What about all the people who work at chain stores – don’t they need jobs too?”
Short answer: Yes.
Longer answer: The attitude of a chain store is simply that of profit. The store’s upper management is unlikely to care much about you or your interests, except in regard to how much money you spend at their store. Independent stores, besides ALSO wanting to sell you things, are much more about community. They live here, and they are better at building a community around their stores. One bookstore local to me, long since closed due to the retirement of the owner, used to organize a run for literacy. Ultimately, this is something that could benefit them, but probably not in a sense directly traceable to that sponsorship. They were doing something to benefit the community as a whole.
Also, the money you spend in a locally-owned business stays here, to pay for dance lessons taught by local instructors, soccer uniforms for local youth leagues, putting food on the table bought from local grocery stores and (hopefully) sold to the store by local farmers. It continues the cycle of growth on a local level. When you buy stuff at a nationwide chain, much of your money is transferred to someplace else, where someone you don’t know does who-knows-what with that money.
The more we know who we’re dealing with regarding our purchases, the more power we have to directly affect how those goods and services are produced, and the more we can support our friends and neighbors. The modern world is putting too much emphasis on keeping people at a distance from each other. The more we interact with other people, the more we realize that our differences are not as great as it seems when we don’t talk to one another.