Choose where to spend wisely

Choosing to purchase goods and services at small businesses ensures their availability.

Members of the University and denizens of the Twin Cities metro area are surrounded by choices as consumers. We have an endless array of restaurants at which to divulge our cravings and stores at which to buy our food and other goods. These choices are in themselves an important opportunity to positively affect our communities. By choosing to buy from smaller, locally owned businesses, we have the ability to save what makes our neighborhoods unique and distinct from others.

During its first day of sales, 2.65 million copies of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” were sold to fans across the globe. While this might seem as though it would cause large profits for bookstores, it did not, and it was the least profitable to independent stores. Because stores are given discounts on books depending on the number of copies they order, independent shops are unable to compete with chain stores. Because of their small orders, independent shops could either lower the price of the book – and thus their profits from it – to keep their price competitive, or they could keep their prices high, which is unattractive to consumers who can buy the same product for so much less at chain stores.

This example rings true for other types of sales. Small businesses often have higher prices than chain stores in order to cover the cost of their goods, rent and other bills. It is within this business trend that we can dictate our appreciation and support for the local businesses that surround us.

It is easy to choose lower prices over higher. Students might be easily lured by the low prices offered at the supermarket, but only by choosing a local co-op, farmers’ market or corner store for our grocery needs can we ensure their availability to us in the future. As big businesses continue to push into our historic neighborhoods, we must always consider how our choices of where we spend our money now can affect our availability of these choices in the future.