Here in Gladstone, we are lucky to have local, family-run businesses clustered throughout our suburbs. We have trades, clothing boutiques, grocers and more food outlets than you can count.

However, these local shops are often overlooked due to their competition online and chain store counterparts. In the digital era, it only takes one click of a button and almost any product we desire can be delivered to our doorstep. While convenience is often key, shopping locally has its benefits too, such as no delivery fees or 3-5 business days to receive your items.

As the daughter of a small grocery store owner in Quilpie (you might need to google that one as it’s just a little town!), I am a huge advocate for buying local to support our small business owners. These shops boost the local economy, create a sense of community and can even increase property prices. Queensland is home to more than 438,000 small businesses and we want to help them grow and succeed.

While it’s inevitable at times that you will need a product from a chain store or an online retailer, even spending an extra 1% of our income locally can make a difference.

I could list so many reasons why its important to shop local but lets just start with 4!

1. Boost the local economy

When you spend money at a local business, it benefits not only the shop but the wider community.

Your money indirectly boosts the economy as local businesses spend their returns locally. They often source from other local shops and owners and their workers spend their income in the area.

2. Add personality to the suburb

Every area has a Woolworths or Coles store, but it’s the quirky local businesses that give the area its personality. Whether it’s a “Mum Club” getting their coffee at the local cafe or the kids choosing their after-school treats at the bakery, the local businesses bring a point of difference to the area. I often drool over the amazing treats that Kandy Couture share across their social media.

A great aspect about small businesses is that they are run by people, not boards. As the owners are not governed to conform to a larger chain, the local businesses are free to inject their personality into their stores. These local shops bring a touch of warmth and character to the suburbs.

3. Unique Items

Unlike chain stores, local businesses often stock unique items that can be hard to find anywhere else. Local stores stock items that use techniques, processes or ingredients that would not be cost effective in mass production for retail chains. A local artist name Ashley Katrina, creates the most beautiful and truly unique artwork with Resin.

If you’re looking to stand out of the crowd, shopping locally is the thing to do. You’ll find items you never would have found in a department store.

4. More personalised experience

Your values and needs are more important to a local business owner, than a chain store manager. My parents have been in business for over 30 years now and value every single customer. They love their community and go out of their way to help everyone including making special deliveries to the elderly that they know will struggle to carry those few bags of groceries to their home, or supporting their local cricket team, and they know the name of every customer and their children. 

To a local business, you’re not just another customer and your purchase is more than just a transaction. Local businesses focus on forming valuable relationships with their customers.

As the success of their business rests on your shoulders, they are more likely than chain retailers to treat you well and provide you with excellent service. They often have better customer service as they have more specific product knowledge and tend to have more time for each customer.

Whether it’s a friendly chat each time you visit, or ordering something on special request, forming a relationship with a local business owner benefits both of you.

You have a choice about where your money goes, so who will you be supporting?

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

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