There are two conflicting movements taking over our society: the globalization of brands, and the trend of shopping local.
As big-name brands grow larger, it becomes difficult for them to keep up with demand and maintain low prices, causing product manufacturing to shift dramatically to overseas operations. This outsourcing often absorbs opportunity for small-town growth. To combat industry takeover by large brands, many individuals are focusing on supporting items made right in their own communities.
The food industry has provided stable footing in small biz support, with farmers’ markets and CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) events happening nationwide, and now we are seeing similar movements in the coffee industry!
You may be wondering, why is supporting local coffee shops, or locally-made products/small businesses so important? Well step right up. We have answers!
Your Dollars Stay In Town
According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, local business generates 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail. By supporting small shops, you are contributing directly to the economy of your city, which in turns supports you and your crew, as you will all benefit from local economic prosperity. Holla wit yo dolla!
Your Needs Matter
Big chains are subject to the requirements made standard by corporate HQ, while local shops can adapt to the wants and needs of their customers.
For example, Brooklyn’s Sit & Wonder has delicious homemade almond milk for all of you non-dairy fans. For them, it’s easy to observe that customers want something like this and then go ahead and start making it themselves, with a quick turnaround.
Large chains, however, are subject to more complex processes and require a level of homogeny that makes something like this nearly impossible, especially on short notice.
Your Community Remains Unique
Close your eyes and think about the city you live in. Where do you like to go? Where do you spend your time and money? Chances are that the first thing that comes to mind is not hanging out at the local Starbucks or The Gap.
Local shops are what weave a unique fabric of each town or community you are a part of. The less we frequent these homegrown businesses, the more likely we are to transform into a world of sameness.
You’ll Get To Know Your Neighbors
Everyone on the CUPS team has a favorite coffee shop. When we walk in, they say hi to us by name, they know our order, and some of us have even genuinely become friends with the baristas. There’s something special about spending time with people who know you, and getting to know the members of your community, especially in a city as big as NY or SF.
Your Coffee Is Usually Better
Small shops need to maintain high quality products in order to maintain their customer base, and to this end, many independent coffee shops work directly with coffee bean farmers in the third world. This kind of small-scale open dialogue ensures only the highest quality of coffee, with the added benefit of supporting another kind of small business owner.
For example, SF’s Sextant Coffee is one of the many CUPS coffee shops that are obsessed with quality (and it shows!). As they themselves put it, “We believe that the best cups are the result of careful expedition — from the farm to roasting to the brewing process itself — and strive for excellence at every step.”
You’re Supporting Someone Who Took A Risk And Cares Deeply
Entrepreneurship is at the backbone of our society, keeping things new and innovative. By supporting small businesses you are investing in an individual’s creative idea, just as you would hope others would support you in a new endeavor.
Also, everyone loves a good underdog story – ever watch Shark Tank?
Your Environmental Impact Is Lower
When you support locally-made items or local businesses, the ingredients and/or supplies are often sourced locally, therefore reducing the environmental impact caused by shipping, as opposed to that of larger chains, who often receive supplies from a centralized location.
Here’s another perk of #smallbiz: business owners are more likely to have a personal sense of accountability towards the environment. According to a study done by the Federation of Small Businesses in the UK,“Basically small businesses take a different view from big businesses. The big boys are probably looking to see what they can get out of [corporate social responsibility], whereas small businesses see it as being part of the community and don’t see it in business strategy terms at all.”
For example, Philly’s P.S. & Co does everything they can to keep their business green because it’s important to them, not because they would receive backlash otherwise.
Supporting local businesses is vital to the success of your community. Since CUPS is connected to hundreds of independent shops, it’s easier than ever for you to participate in local commerce.
CUPS helps give these businesses the tools they need for success, and this is the driving force behind most of what we do. The impact is as important as the killer coffee!
What are your favorite ways to shop local and support small businesses? Let us know in the comments.