We all need to buy stuff. Usually every other day, or so it seems.

  • clothes, shoes
  • books, music, magazines
  • food
  • a night out on the town
  • gift, gear & grits
  • things for your home

This is about making a conscious choice; a choice to seek out and purchase the things you need from local, independently owned businesses in you community. This is your source for finding the most unique, original goods you need on a regular basis, and supporting your local community while you’re at it. This is not about being against box stores. This is about a little bit of balance.

Why Shop Local?

Well, here’s 10 good reasons to start with….

  • Find great stuff that everyone else doesn’t already have! Local, independent businesses carry products they want to sell, not what a head office tells them to! So you find unique things that reflect your individual style and character. And I know a lot of ‘characters’ live in this town.
  • Local independent business owners know their stuff! They know everything there is to know about the products they carry. Ask them anything. They’ll know or know how to find out.
  • Can I just say… REAL, personal CUSTOMER SERVICE! I love going to a clothing store where they know exactly what size I wear and the styles I prefer. One of my favourite clothing stores even remembered what I bought in seasons past! Incredible.
  • Local independent businesses create a unique flair, personality and culture in a community. There is no same-ville when you’ve got the dynamics and individuality of vibrant local independent businesses
  • You support the real local economy when you shop local. Did you know that for every $100 you spend at a local, independently owned shop $68 return to the community? Now you know.
  • You might just learn something about your community and/or your neighbours!
  • Local independent businesses are owned by people who live in our community which makes them more likely to invest here. They sponsor local events. They donate. They promote. They educate. They are dedicated to the welfare and sustainability of our community; of my community.
  • Shopping locally creates more jobs for people who live in our community.
  • Shopping locally can be a bit more gentle on the environment.
  • Quality. Better quality. No independent business stays in business very long if it’s selling crappy stuff.
  • Because it really does make a difference in our community. It just might make a different in your own life too.
  • And,… it’s fun!!!

So, that was 12 good reasons.
Got more? Let me know.

What is a Local Independent Business?

There are hundreds of buy local initiatives and campaigns all over the world. While they each have a unique flavour and approach, many of them also define what they mean by ‘local independent business’. I’ll do the same for you here. It’s good for you to know what’s what when you use this wicked guide to help you find the best of the best in Waterloo Region.

This is what I mean when I use the term ‘local independent business’ (but not that radically different from other buy local initiatives):

  • The majority of the business’ ownership is private, by employees, the community, or an area cooperative, and is resident to the community in which it’s based
  • The business operates out of a physical storefront or similar location
  • The business relies solely on its unique name and reputation
  • The business is not a franchise, not does it have a corporate office or headquarters somewhere else, like another province or country
  • Full decision making function for the business is held by the local owner(s), including the name, signage, brand, appearance, purchasing, etc.
  • The business is solely responsible for paying its own rent, marketing, and other expenses
  • It is not a vendor (ie, does not sell wholesale)

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