By Jane Wildung Lanphere
Luverne Area Chamber Director
I find it kind of amazing how we are all getting “duped” into believing that online and big box store shopping are the most convenient and cheapest ways to shop.
A couple of weeks ago I had a phone call from a college friend who lives in a big city on the East Coast. While we were talking, her doorbell rang and she excused herself for a minute. When she came back to the phone, she told me that Amazon had just delivered a two-pack of paper towels and a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner.
I couldn’t believe what I heard. It seems like everything we need in life can arrive at our doorstep in two days with free shipping. You never have to leave your house, get dressed or interact with anyone. You can spend your days tethered to your computer. Doesn’t that sound like an interesting and exciting life?
Advertisements and social media have drummed into our heads that on those rare occasions when we actually need to go out and shop for something, we should head to some big city to some big box store because that is the cheapest and best way to shop. Just think how much fun it is to hop in the car and drive 45 minutes or 4 hours to those big box stores, spend 20 minutes driving around trying to find a place to park just to be bagged searched or carded on your way into the store.
Once you are in the store, you have to wind your way around other shoppers and through aisle after aisle to find what you are looking for. The whole time you are there, you probably don’t have a conversation with another person. You check out, haul your bags to the car and make your way home. Where does your money go? It goes to another state and a corporation that never gives back to the people or the community where you are from.
I am inviting you to join me this holiday season for the opportunity to make your shopping less stressful, discover wonderful gifts to buy for those you love, and really make a difference to the people in our community. How can you do that? SHOP LUVERNE SMALL!
We have wonderful, unique and customer-service-driven businesses in Luverne. On a national basis, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all the employers in the United States. They generate 64 percent of all the new jobs created and they provide 44 percent of the private payroll. Small business is essential to our country. There are 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and over 22 million small business owners depend on that business for their primary income.
Small businesses are innovative and offer unique products and services. They offer things you want and need and provide customer support. When you buy from a small business, you are most often supporting a family who lives next door or down the street. Small businesses give back. An independent research firm recently published data that reported that 90 percent of small business owners contribute to their communities through volunteering, in-kind contributions, and cash donations. They understand the concept of “pay it forward.”
The future of our local small businesses will be so much brighter if all of us intentionally make a great effort to shop in our hometown. When we shop local, we know the real live person who does a “happy dance” when the sale is closed. In return, our “happy” small business owners will build their business and continue to serve you and your needs. Everyone wins!
Remember those rolls of paper towels and bottle of toilet bowl cleaner? When we buy it locally we are saving on the packaging and carbon emissions that it takes to ship all our online orders. We save the environment by walking or spending only a few minutes in the car to a local store rather than a 45 minute trip to a box store. Just think about the added savings when you can make a return in 10 minutes and not have to use multiple boxes and packaging or spend a lot of time in the car driving and waiting in lines.
Shopping local builds community. The Luverne brand, “Love the Life,” expresses the feeling we have in living in our town.
A big part of that life is the people that make this town unique. It is that friend we call “waitress of the year.” It is that young man who carries your groceries out to the car, always going the extra mile with a smile. It is the man who takes the time to help you solve a problem at home by telling you that instead of replacing the whole mechanism, just replace this small part. Result – you spend $1.59 instead of $67 to replace it. It is the business owner who tracks you down in another store when you left your checkbook, purse or credit card on her counter. Those things don’t happen in big box stores and big cities. They happen in towns like Luverne where small businesses are big businesses in the community. It’s our town - Luverne…where human connections are made, nurtured and flourish.
By shopping small and shopping local we are supporting our local entrepreneurs and partaking in community. Help us build this town we love. At the end of the day, where and how we shop matters for ourselves, our community, and the environment.
Love the Life…SHOP LUVERNE, SHOP LOCAL!