Independent local kids boutiques employ an array of local supporting services. They hire architects, designers, cabinet shops, sign makers and contractors for construction. Local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, and advertising agencies help run their businesses. In contrast, a big box retailer is a clone of other units, eliminates the need for local planning, and uses a minimum of local goods and services. The chain store’s profits promptly are exported to corporate headquarters.
Dollars spent at community-based merchants create a multiplier effect in the local economy that, by most findings, typically amounts to three times that of a chain. This is well-evidenced by an economic impact study by the IBA in Austin, Texas that concluded for every $100 spent at a chain, $13 remained in the community while $45 remained when spent with home town businesses.
Kids boutique retailers sift through competing clothing (and coat) lines to find those that will appeal to their customers. Though a single local shop may carry a smaller selection than a big chain, you can bet a dollar that the local store owner will have more appealing products for its customers. As fewer giant corporations dominate production and sales, our options – determined by a powerful few — dwindle. Our freedom of choice is imperiled when a few buyers from national chains choose what reaches customers.
When asked to name our favorite restaurant, cafe, or shop, it’s typically a unique local business. Just look at the results in any community’s “Best of” polls as proof. Those businesses define our sense of place, but we often forget their survival depends on our patronage. Local owners, typically having invested much of their life savings in their businesses, have a natural interest in the community’s long-term health. Community-based businesses are essential to charitable endeavors, and their owners frequently serve on local boards and support numerous causes.
The overall impacts are clear: locally-owned businesses play a vital role in our community that chains rarely do. To the success of the local children's boutique!