We’re seeing it all over the Phoenix metro area, gas prices closing in or even reaching over $3 a gallon. While some experts are saying the cost of a gallon of gasoline could reach $4 or more by Springtime, it may indicate that it might be more important than ever to buy local. Think about it, if you cut back on spending and decide to shop at places like Walmart or some other corporately owned store to save money, you could possibly see the demise of your favorite local establishment.
While some local establishments might have to raise prices because of the high cost of gas, it may cause some people to leave them in order to save a few dollars. Of course don’t think that by leaving a place you love to save money means you’re going to find a price increase someplace else. In fact, expect the prices to go up at the grocery store and at the large corporately owned retailers as gas prices increase. Yes, it does require fuel to get items to store shelves as they’re usually shipped in by truck. This means they might be higher in price. This happened a couple of years ago when a gallon of gas was going for over $3. Even then small businesses were struggling, now it could get even worse.
However, if you really want to save some money, you might want to spend more up front to help small businesses. A lot of small business owners will tell you that when you go the cheapest route possible you get exactly what you pay for. This means you’ll be paying even more money to get something repaired or replaced because it wasn’t performed or built right the first time. It’s a never ending cycle when you go that route. Some of the best workmanship and service I’ve ever received was when I patroned a small business. In fact, I found that the owner of the business was usually happy to see me and often knew my needs so shopping with them was mostly painless. Not so with a bigger company who’s main priority is to make money.
With higher gas prices this means more people are likely to reduce their travels and stay home a bit more, or in the very least combine their errands and do their shopping in areas closer to where they live. As the owner of a computer repair company that travels to the customer’s location to do the work, this could be good news. Yes, people do like it when a service comes to them and the trend is increasing each day. Not only is it more personal, but it means one less trip they have to make to some shop to get their problematic computer fixed. The high gas prices might also help other service businesses like plumbing, mobile mechanics, landscaping, electricians, and any other service that comes to the customer’s location.
There’s also the chance that higher gas prices could also be the death blow to some small businesses as some people continue to be minions of big box giants, where service is sub par and the prices which even though are cheap, require you to spend even more money over the long term. If we move away from small business in the name of price then it won’t be good for the local economy which relies on them to keep things going. It’s a known fact that for every $100 spent at a local small business, almost $70 is returned back to the local econ0my. This means more jobs can be created and also more people having the resources they need to pay for the goods and services they need. It also means less stress as well because you will get the quality of service you desire.
If a small business is forced to close their doors because people want to save money, it means less choices as well. Yes, if your favorite establishment or business closes their doors, who will you have to turn to? You guessed it, the big box store or corporately owned business you were trying to get away from because you got lousy service. The more your favorite small businesses disappear the more likely the corporations will be the only game in town. This is another big reason why buying local is a great course of action. It gives us more choices, which is one of the things I’ve always liked as a consumer.
Looking at price first isn’t always a good thing. Sure, there are times where you might look at price first, but don’t let that blind you from the long term economic plan. The biggest question is, are you willing to risk good service and quality due to price? Saving small businesses and encouraging others to shop locally is a good solution to get us through the rise in prices which will also effect large companies. The other important thing about supporting local businesses is the fact that you’ll be supporting American enginuity and know-how. Plain and simple, supporting local business means you’ll be getting someone here in the United States to help you instead of dealing with a worker overseas. Have you ever called a big company on the phone for their assistance and maybe got somone in India? That can be nerve racking especially when you can’t understand a word they’re saying.
Ultimately the consumer will have to choose for themselves between shopping local or global. Let’s just hope that the decision to save small business is made just in time before our country deals with another cleanup on aisle 7.