Before Earth Animal became the brand it is today, we were a small, independent pet supply store based in Westport, CT – in fact, indie retail is in our DNA. In the 41 years since our local beginnings, we have relied on the relationships, partnerships, and support we get from our ever-growing family of independently-owned retailers to build a company that does business another way™.
We know first-hand how important shopping locally is to a region’s economic and social well-being. Small local businesses create jobs, stimulate the economy, help the environment, and provide important social functions. They are invested in the prosperity of their communities more than larger retailers not only because their livelihoods depend on it, but because their owners typically also live in the communities that they serve. As we celebrate Indie Retailer Month, we applaud the many ways that small local businesses improve and enhance our local communities while also making significant contributions to our country.
Indie Retailers Create Jobs
Indie retailers employ local residents, which not only helps to keep local communities economically stable but also makes up more than half of the country’s entire workforce. Since 2003, small businesses have added more than 5 million jobs to the country’s economy (MSU). Decisions about workforce and hiring needs are made in-house by those who are on the ground and know their customers personally, rather than by corporate executives who may not even live in the same state as the storefront. This makes the jobs created by indie retailers more stable for and preferred by workers.
Indie Retailers Stimulate the Economy
Big-box stores and franchises limit their products to what can be sold in the same way at every store nationwide. In contrast, indie retailers provide unique and interesting shopping choices to consumers. These sales contribute to the local economy by adding to the local tax base and keeping spending local instead of contributing to corporate profit. Plus, all these different choices enhance innovation and support other small businesses.
Indie Retailers are Better for the Environment
Indie retailers provide numerous environmental advantages. Small businesses typically have a smaller carbon footprint than larger retailers. Products can be sourced more locally, reducing transportation emissions. Shoppers don’t have as far to travel to get to the businesses, limiting and often eliminating carbon emissions from cars. Packaging is often significantly reduced because products are not travelling around the world to get to the shops. The stores are typically clustered in town or city centers, reducing urban sprawl and habitat loss.
Indie Retailers Support Society
Small local businesses often contribute more to local charitable causes than large corporate retailers because the indie businesses are full members of their communities. The owners don’t simply have a storefront in a city or town; their life’s work is there and, often, they live there. Small business owners know their customers and their communities and step up when called upon to sponsor children’s sports teams, charitable events, and fundraisers. Additionally, indie retailers provide common meeting places for neighbors and instill a sense of pride and civic-mindedness in their patrons.
Shop Local in July, and All Year Long
For these and many more reasons, indie retailers are indispensable to our communities. We stand with our fellow small business owners and honor all the ways that indie retail helps to build up our neighborhoods. Throughout Indie Retailer Month and the whole year, remember to shop local to help keep these amazing contributors alive and thriving.