You might be surprised to learn that shopping at a big box store doesn’t guarantee you the best pricing or range of product options after all. Big box stores are also not so great for the health of local communities. Here are three things to think about before your next trip to a big box store.
1. They Dominate Markets and Drive Prices Up
Big box stores often end up crowding out smaller, locally-owned businesses, which means fewer shopping options and less competition. Competition in the marketplace is necessary in order to maintain low pricing over time. Without competition, businesses can charge any price they want because customers have no other buying options. To ensure low pricing and a fair market, it is crucial to support locally-owned businesses.
2. They Decrease Economic Activity in Communities
When big box stores replace locally owned businesses there is a negative effect on the local economy because big box stores don’t have a need for local services and don’t spend much, if any, money at local businesses. Locally owned businesses purchase goods from other local businesses and use the services of local professionals such as accountants, bankers, web designers and builders. Locally owned businesses also contribute more to local charities.
3. They Homogenize Communities
Big box stores are just that – big, and boring. They all look the same. Locally owned, small businesses have charm and character, and they make cities and towns unique. This uniqueness promotes tourism by providing visitors with interesting places to shop and eat. And as an added bonus, small businesses offer a far greater range of product options. Wouldn’t you rather shop in a walk-able, charming downtown area than in an over-sized building with a large, ugly parking lot!?