The Benefits of Shopping Local for the College-Aged Consumer

Gabrielle Fanelli, Staff Writer

Photo courtesy Pixabay.com.

Photo courtesy Pixabay.com.

 

Shop Local. It’s something we have all heard on commercials from television to the radio. Saturday, November 26 is Small Business Saturday, which is a time to honor and support our local small businesses. What’s so special about shopping local and how does this benefit us as the consumers?  

Judith D. Schwartz with Time Magazine says, “ By shopping at the corner store instead of the big box, consumers keep their communities from becoming what the NEF calls "ghost towns" (areas devoid of neighborhood shops and services) or 'clone towns', where Main Street now looks like every other Main Street with the same fast-food and retail chains.”

As of 2004, according to the Organic Consumer Association, “The world's largest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., says its inventory of stock produced in China is expected to hit US$18 billion this year, keeping the annual growth rate of over 20 percent consistent over two years. So far, more than 70 percent of the commodities sold in Wal-Mart are made in China.”

This figure leaves only 30 percent of Wal-Mart goods made in the U.S.A. Think of all the jobs 70 percent of U.S. product creation could bring. As college students, we are in dire need of a job when we graduate and shopping local is just a small way we can help produce more jobs by pouring our funds in to the local economy instead of outsourcing companies like Wal-Mart. 

Have you ever thought, “Who made this?” or “How was this made?” At times I have wondered how long it takes to sew the sweater I purchased from target. Shopping local not only helps the local economy but it allows you to know who you are supporting beyond just the business name. It's also a great networking opportunity. Just three weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to the Greer Farmers Market.

Greer Farmers Market   photo credit: Gabrielle Fanelli

Greer Farmers Market 

photo credit: Gabrielle Fanelli

They were having their last market of the season, along with a chili cook off. I walked around from table to table, admiring all of the hand made products and treats. I purchased a small iced caramel coffee roasted locally by Paradox Coffee. The actual owner of this brand was the one pouring my coffee.

I purchased a small glass bottle of peppermint oil from IVIVA, a local hand made soap and essential oil company. I got to meet the actual owner of the product and exchange warm smiles of gratitude.

I bought a delicious bread pudding for my dad (which I ate half of unintentionally) from Ms. Lillian’s Louisiana Pie.  I got to meet Ms. Lillian herself and learn about all the delicious ingredients she uses to make her pies and desserts.

I even purchased a pair of handmade earrings from Sisters Boutique in downtown Greer, where the owners were telling me exactly how the earrings were made. I felt an over all feeling of “wow”. It felt good buying something when I knew who made it. Additionally, by meeting these local farmers and crafters, I was able to exchange emails and business cards as a networking opportunity for after I graduate. You never know who could help you get a job after college.

Shopping locally not only supports the local economy and allows you to see the actual creator of the product, but it also supports your health. Staying healthy in college can sometimes be a challenge as the germs love to spread rapidly in the dorms and it's easy to gain weight from the late night trips to Cook Out. 

John Rampton, a contributor for Entrepreneur says, “Buying local foods has numerous health benefits to your family. When you buy from local farmers, you have access to fruits and vegetables that you know are chemical free, as well as grass-fed meats, fresh eggs and dairy from cows that feast on local green grass each day.”

For example, you can take a trip to Foodies Farm Shop in downtown Greer and purchase local produce such as: eggs, milk, butter, meats, cheeses and bread. You can actually meet the farmers each week as they bring in the fresh produce and ask them questions about how it’s made. You can also purchase homemade soaps, scrubs, candles, shampoo, lotion,and essential oils from Foodies Farm Shop and The Shoppes on Trade, both located in downtown Greer. The Shoppes on Trade is a large store front that acts as a display for local farmers to come sell their homemade products. You can even purchase handmade clothing, scarves and pillows there. Think of how much of a difference NGU could make on our local communities' economies and growth if we just took the time to shop for our produce and cosmetic products locally.

Here are a few must-see shops and restaurants you’re going to want to visit this weekend for Small Business Saturday:

Goose Feathers in Travelers Rest, SC

Goose Feathers in Travelers Rest, SC

 

Foodies Farm Shop

Local farm fresh produce, candles, cosmetics, spices, oils, meats, & more

300 Randall St. Greer, S.C.

 

The Shoppes on Trade

Handmade adult apparel, shoes, cosmetics, children’s toys and clothing, food, jams,and candles.

211 Trade St. Greer, S.C.

 

Sisters Boutique

Clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, & More

115 E Poinsett St Greer, S.C.

 

Goose Feathers Boutique

Clothes, accessories, shoes, candles. & More

110 S Main St. Travelers Rest, S.C.

 

The Flop Shop

Flip Flops, Jewelry and other Fantabulous Finds

309 S Main Street Travelers Rest, S.C.

 

Pink Mama’s Ice Cream

11 S Main St. Travelers Rest. S.C.

 

Whistle Stop at the American Café

109 S. Main St Travelers Rest S.C.

 

Leopard Forrest Coffeehouse

A quaint easygoing place for coffee sourced directly from farmers with some delicious café treats.

27 S Main Street Travelers Rest, S.C.