Buying from locally-owned, independent shops is good for the community. There are great benefits in terms of the economic health of the Ann Arbor area, employment opportunities for local residents, breadth of selection for shoppers, and quality of the customers' service experiences.
When you choose to spend a dollar at a locally-owned, independent shop, two to three times as much of that dollar is recirculated in the local economy-- local merchants and their employees shop at local stores. In contrast, corporate chain stores send their profits back to the head office and to shareholders with almost no benefit returning to the local community. About the only thing that stays is the wages, which are usually less than one would need to survive in our town.
No one local merchant can stock everything that a huge-format chain store can stock; but collectively, your local independent merchants offer a much greater diversity of product selection than any chain store, as each merchant responds to a unique niche within the community.
When local residents opt to shop at chain stores, local stores go out of business. With less competition, chain stores can raise prices, slash selections, and depress wages even further. These long term costs far outweigh the short term benefits of shopping at a chain store, and no one benefits but the chain's shareholders and executives.
Beyond the economic costs, what is the aesthetic impact of having every small town and city across the US homogenized by the relentless forward march of cookie-cutter stores? When you're in Ann Arbor, don't you want to know that you're in Ann Arbor? Thanks for shopping locally, and please let us know how we can serve you better.