Now is the time to join the hustle and bustle and get the rest of your Christmas shopping done if you have not finished yet. We are all concerned about getting everyone on our list a gift that they will love. Have you ever given any thought to the venues that you choose to patronize when buying gifts or other items that you might need? Do you shop big box stores, online, catalogs, or local? Let’s look at some reasons that it is more beneficial to buy local versus big box or long distance.
When we use “buy local”, we are not only talking about merchandise. We are also talking about services and dining. For example, when hiring someone to clean your home or business, do you hire someone from your community or “Merry Maids”? By buying local, you are investing in your community and receiving a more personal and distinctive experience. Below, we are going to list the top reasons why it is better to choose local and independent businesses for all your needs and wants:
- The first reason is to Build Community through social networking. The people you meet at neighborhood businesses become acquaintances that you build relationships with and create more community cohesiveness and possibly lasting friendships.
- You also Strengthen Your Local Economy because the money you spend at an independent business comes back to your local economy at three times the rate of the money you spend at a chain store and fifty times more than a mega-online business.
- Independent businesses also help Shape the Character of your community by lending it personality based on the type business it transacts.
- Buying local will save you time and money, because You Can Buy It Where You Try It; therefore, you know if what you are buying is what you really want through trying it on or trying it out.
- Buying green means buying local because independent businesses that serve the community usually use less land, locate closer to residents, create less traffic and air pollution and carry more locally-made products which Create a Healthier Environment.
- Because local businesses create a healthier environment by using less community resources and requiring less services which puts less demand on roads, sewers, and safety services, they Lower Taxes. Local businesses generate more tax revenue, thus keeping your taxes lower.
- Consumers Union’s reader surveys repeatedly indicate more overall customer satisfaction with local businesses over chain business competitors. The surveys also indicate that the local businesses often save you more money so you Get Real Value for Yourself.
- A wide variety of independent businesses Enhance Choices for local consumers by serving their customers tastes, often through special requests for specific items.
- Due to the multiplier effect, there is an Increase in Wealth of Residents. The multiplier effect is created when an injection of extra income leads to more spending, which creates more income, and so on, which is what local spending does.
- Independent businesses Create Jobs and Opportunities, because they create business for local entrepreneurs such as attorneys, farms, printers, accountants, wholesalers, etc. They also hire locally, employing more people directly per dollar of revenue.
- Small businesses also Give Back to the Community by donating more than twice as much per sales dollar to local events, teams and non-profits than big businesses do.
- Local Ownership of business Enhances Local Democracy because they are residents in the community and involved in the key development decisions which have an impact on your lives and the local environment.
- Research shows that small, locally-owned firms Enhance the Health of Residents through the correlation between various indicators of personal and community health and vitality and the percentage of local businesses.
We have quite a few small, independent businesses located in the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina area, which includes Murrells Inlet, North Myrtle Beach, Georgetown, Pawleys Island, Garden City, and of course Myrtle Beach. Below is listed a few of the small businesses in this area and comments on how the consumers feel about them.
The Sly Fox located at 732 Front Street, Georgetown, South Carolina is an upscale boutique featuring handbags, classic ladies apparel, jewelry, and gifts. It carries such name brands as Jude Connally, Katherine Way, Susan Shaw, Brighton, Clara Sun Woo, Lysee, Jonathan Wind, Boho Chic and much more including accessories. The owner is very accommodating and friendly, personally showing you her merchandise. According to Christina L below, she makes you feel like you are family:
“Stop here for cute tunics, dresses, and jewelry…not to mention a few things for the gents! The owner, Miss Linda, makes you feel like you’re family…or shopping with a best friend.”
Woof Gang Bakery and Grooming located at 10689 Ocean Highway, Unit #1, Pawleys Island, South Carolina is a bakery for your fur pets, offering raw, frozen and grain-free foods for your dogs and cats. They also carry premium pet food selections and tender, loving grooming for your pets. They offer a monitored and clean Doggie Day Care as well, giving individual attention to your dogs’ needs in a safe atmosphere. If you would rather groom your own pets without the mess and cleanup, they have just what you need–self-service grooming. Below are some reviews from some very excited patrons:
Whitney C-“ This place is AMAZING!!!!!! I love the selection of all the treats and chews!! The staff is super friendly and ready to help. Will definitely be bringing my dog back to get treats and for all her grooming needs!!!!”
Troi K-“ Scout the Wonder Dog and I had a great experience at Woof Gang! Loved the groomer, and the gal in the shop was SO HELPFUL! Great selection of toys, treats,and just about anything you could imagine for your pup! Will be going back soon, and often!”
The Lazy Gator located at 3986 Highway 17 Business, Murrells Inlet, South Carolina has been voted the best gift shop along the Grand Strand for the 5th year in a row by its customers. They have also been awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence for 2015. Per the Lazy Gator Facebook page, “Come and “get lazy” in the old fashioned rocking chairs on our low country style wraparound porch. Visit our popular fudge counter, where our delicious homemade fudge is created daily! You’ll also find specialized jams, sauces, dressings and dips from Lazy Gator. Stop in to see the local art we carry from South Carolina – painting, photography, pottery, books and jewelry. The Lazy Gator is home to some of your favorite brands such as Vera Bradley, Spartina 449, Willowtree, Tervis Tumblers, Salt Life, Southern Fried Cotton, Tyler Candles, and Lindsay Phillips. We carry a variety of coastal and Seaglass jewelry, along with favorites Kameleon, Bourbon & Boweties, Lori Bonn Designs, Dune Beach Sand Jewelry, Ginger Snaps and more! Come enjoy our relaxing atmosphere as you browse through nautical gifts, coastal home and garden decor items, jewelry, toys, apparel, sea shells, a large variety of greeting cards, Christmas ornaments and much, much more.
We are open year round, and until 10PM every night through the Summer!” Based on the reviews below, they do indeed give personal, friendly service and go out of their way to accommodate their guests. No wonder they are the locals’ and tourists’ favorite gift shop.
Krystal W—” This is a Myrtle Beach staple!! We love visiting this quant little store for things that we feel will help capture the memories of this year’s vacation! The staff are all helpful and very friendly. The pirate ship outside is very fun for children to play in as their parents are shopping! I know my daughter enjoys it each year!”
Timothy E—” The lazy gator is the best gift store in the Murrells Inlet area. They have just about something from everyone there. Beautiful glass work and pottery from local artists. It is just an all around great place for gifts and memories. “
Jess F—” Cute gift shop! I was greeted at the door and offered a free water bottle! I asked one of the young men working to look for a t-shirt in a different size for me in the back room. He came out and couldn’t find one but actually got out a ladder to look on the tall displays to check for me! The store features a lot of brand name clothing (Salt Life!) but also local Murrells Inlet gifts including the popular T-shirt “a small drinking town with a big fishing problem.” Another plus is they have huge rocking chairs that circle their porch – perfect spot for someone to sit and wait while you shop your heart out!”
The Village Surf Shoppe located at 500 Atlantic Ave., Garden City, South Carolina was established in 1969 by Eric Eason. He used to rent surf boards to tourists from beneath the pier at Garden City Beach. This gave him the idea of opening his own surf shop which was one of the first surf shops along the Grand Strand, and it has been in the same location since 1969. In 1988, Kelly Richards bought the shop from Eric. Before buying the shop, Kelly had made and repaired Perfection Surf boards for the shop.
The Wildflower located at 241 Main Street in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina is a quaint, eclectic gift shop. “The four owners are locals in North Myrtle Beach who wanted to bring their art and experience to Main Street.” According to their Facebook page. It is ranked #9 of 25 for the Best Gift Shop and carries art and gifts made by local artists. It was established in 2013 and “The Wildflower has lots of unique treasures including but not limited to local art, home decor, jewelry, furniture, antiques, and more! We love vintage, eclectic, nautical and especially locally hand crafted items! We always have new stuff coming in and there is always lots to look at and enjoy in our shabby chic beach boutique!” Based on the reviews below, it is a browser’s paradise:
Jamie I–I could get lost in this place being in such wonder and amazement. Such a cute little shop with many handmade things as well as unique oddities. Loved it!!”
Heather B—”Went to this shop today & it was fabulous!! If you are a “Picker”, love unique decor, handmade gifts & treasure hunting this is the place for you!! Check it out if you are in the area. You won’t be disappointed.”
Samantha Z—”Yearly visit to this quaint off the main path place- always find something special to take back home. Stop in, you’ll love it. Friendliest owners.”
As you can see, these small businesses have definitely helped our economy, shaped our community and given our locals and tourists a feeling of welcome and camaraderie. This is probably one of the reasons that the cities that make up the Grand Strand have a small-town atmosphere. We welcome you to come see for yourself!!