Shop Small - Shop Local
If shopping small or shopping local in downtown Wilmington is not high on your radar, here are a few things to consider – especially with the upcoming holiday season:
How many times do you drive several miles to a big-box store only to find the item you want is out of stock? How many times do you go into a big-box store for a couple of things and come out with a dozen more and an empty wallet? How many times do you hike up and down several aisles in a big-box store unable to find what you want or someone to help you find it? How many times do you buy fast food or eat at a franchised restaurant only to wish the food was more interesting or there was a more personal service? For many people, the answer here is “too often.”
People often cite easy parking, convenience, one-stop-shop, and value for money as reasons to shop in big-box stores. This detailed report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance explains how small-scale, locally owned businesses create communities that are more prosperous, entrepreneurial, connected, and generally better off across a wide range of measures. It also explains the negative impact of big box stores.
When visiting a big box store, chances are you will park in a surface lot with a hefty walk to the door. Inside, you are reminded of why they are called “Big-box” stores…because they are big! And, because big-box owners use studies of shopping behavior to lay out their stores, the item you want is often furthest away. So, after hiking all the way to the back, shoppers typically pick up several other unnecessary items while there…just because. Before you know it, you’ve spent way more money than planned instead of just buying the one or two items you needed.
Then you have to navigate the frustrations of the check out. There may be a dozen registers but most of the time, only three or four are staffed. Often, the self-checkouts have long lines filled with frustrated shoppers unable to properly scan and bag their items. If you’re served by someone you recognize from a previous visit, do they remember you? Unlikely.
By the time you leave the store, you’ve wasted an hour or more and you’re hungry. So, why not whip into a fast food joint at the edge of the parking lot? Your food may arrive quickly, but do you like eating food out of a box? And, how personal is the customer service? As you walk or drive away, you hear the worker delivering the same rehearsed greeting to the next customer.
So, what’s the answer? Shop small and shop local! Here are 11 reasons to shop local, according to the American Independent Business Alliance.
Driving Downtown is quick and easy and so is parking. There are three, easy-to-find multi-story parking decks and several public and private lots within three blocks either side of Market Street. And, the first hour of parking in the decks is FREE! Thereafter, it is only $1.00 per hour up to an $8.00 maximum.
Once you’ve parked, downtown Wilmington has lots to offer within a compact area: more than 130 unique shops; around 80 superb dining establishments; approximately 40 friendly bars; more than 40 attractions and over 200 other services.
Being locally owned and operated, these businesses are an integral part of our community. The people operating these downtown businesses offer a more personalized service and work hard to provide jobs that fuel our economy. Distinctive products and services make shopping local a fun experience you won’t find elsewhere.
Shopping small and investing locally throughout the holiday season and beyond strengthens our community and has an economic impact that extends far beyond downtown Wilmington. So, make your life easier—shop small and shop local in downtown Wilmington!