Local businesses are always talked about as the heart and soul of our communities, places where the people we know put their entire lives into their work.
Mainstream media portrays local business owners as the gold standard of hard-working Americans following that classic American dream.
So much praise is given to these hearty business owners, yet they still keep going out of business. Why?
It’s simple: people don’t go to local businesses if they don’t have to.
Why go to a local coffee shop hidden away in downtown when you can go to a Starbucks five minutes away from your house?
Just recently, the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless thrift store had to close its doors due to a significant decrease in income over the past 10 years.
The store used revenue to support homeless shelters in Stockton.
Here’s a business with a charitable goal, hard working people, and products that everyday people would need — and it is unable to keep its doors open.
This isn’t the owners’ fault,of course. They get the spaces that they can afford and operate — but it shows that people are not willing to suffer inconveniences or higher prices to support their own communities.
It seems that the only times these businesses get supported is when they are quite literally the only option available.
I shop at local game stores in my area not because I’m actively trying to support my community, but because there are no Gamestops in Lodi and the department stores don’t keep games in stock.
If we are going to keep touting local businesses as the foundation of America, then we need to actually support them with our business.