Last week I shared with you the history of the food co-op. At the centre of this concept is the idea of a “community” working together.
Today I explore why local communities are so important and how local businesses contribute. A food co-op is the perfect example of both a community-driven initiative and small business.
A community is a group of individuals connected to each other by one or more attribute(s). The elements that links them together create the essence of the group.
People need to be part of a community for the necessities of life. Most people want to belong to a community because there is something indescribably lovely about being a part of a group of people who share something more substantial than geographical location. A community is a safe place.
Here is my take on why small businesses, like a food co-op, are essential to the threads of our local communities:
They contribute to the community identity. Whether it be the look and feel of the shopfronts, or the essence of the businesses. All communities have defining characterstics.
Local community members love being involved with local businesses, whether it be as a volunteer or an employee. Chances are, local businesses are within walking distance from their homes and provide a great way to socialise with others who also live nearby.
Small business owners are an important part of the communities in which they live and work. For example, local small business entrepreneurs tend to support and sponsor local sports teams, participate in community charity events and/or contribute to local not-for-profit organisations.
Local businesses keep money circulating within the local economy. By encouraging local purchases they are able to create local jobs. This arguably creates a tighter-knit and healthier community vibe.
Small businesses need to stand out from the crowd in order to survive. This means they generally excel in customer service and fill a legitimate need in the community.
Original, locally made products can attract customers to a community. This can bolster tourism and contribute to the local vibe. Locally made goods are also attractive to residents looking to minimise their carbon footprints, support local businesses, and keep their tax dollars close to home.
At the centre of it all, small businesses are the heartbeat to our local communities. Next time you are considering heading to the supermarket, remember- local matters. Don’t forget to look up your nearest co-op. A lovely community will welcome you with open arms.