Where you decide to shop this holiday season has a major impact on both the economy and our environment. Really. “But,” some say, “my going to Starbucks or Target a couple of times a week isn’t going to bring down the local economy.” Perhaps not, but that money adds up, and if you take that money and divert it towards independently-owned small shops, we would see a great re-investment in community services and diversity of businesses. It’s simple, actually: small business owners set up shop in their communities for the main reason that they love their home. We hire your kids and friends, we give more to local charities, and we care more about making the community a better place. Since the Tea Room has opened, we have sponsored 4 major community festivals, offered dozens of free classes and events, donated to several charities and groups including the Lower Merion Players, the Merion Neighborhood Association, Narberth Civic, Ardmore Food Pantry, Community Design Collaborative, and more. We have adopted the park next to the Station and worked hard to clean it up and turn it into a vibrant, active green space that is now enjoyed by neighbors and visitors alike on a daily basis. Why? Because we care.
As you decide where to shop for gifts for friends and family this holiday season, why should you consider purchasing gifts locally from small businesses, when the big box retailers have spent so much competing for your attention? Well, when taking the state of our economy into consideration, buying local could be the best decision U.S. shoppers make this season. For example, according to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, local business generates 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail.
Our environment also benefits from your decision to shop from local businesses. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), industrial pollution is responsible for almost 50 percent of the pollution present in the United States. Shopping locally helps cut down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to less pollution. Overall, buying local is a chance to support the growing Maker Movement, meet talented artisans and small business owners who take great pride in their work, experience handmade, one-of-a-kind and meaningful gifts and support your community.