Published by Carl Hedinger. Last Updated on November 20, 2023.
While traveling around this great state of ours, we’ve tried our best to support local businesses in North Carolina, both with our wallets and by promoting them on this website and our social media pages.
We understand that it can be challenging to shop locally in NC, especially if you live in a town with no downtown or somewhere secluded.
Also, there are larger employers in NC that are the backbone of many communities, and we’re not asking you to stop shopping with them, either.
The purpose of this post is to ask you to consider small businesses, too.
Because small businesses aren’t just where you go to buy something.
5 Reasons Why We Should Shop Local in NC
Why should we band together and support local businesses in North Carolina (and elsewhere)? Here are a few reasons:
Without naming any names, I can think of at least a few chain stores that employ people they view as replaceable. I’ve worked at a few of them, and I can tell you nothing is more demoralizing than being treated that way.
At local businesses in North Carolina, you’ll find employees who typically take pride in their work and the place where they work.
More often than not, employees and owners have gone out of their way to make sure my experience with them is better than at a chain.
Local Businesses are Unique
Many chains and corporations want you to have the same experience in Raleigh as you would in Phoenix, Arizona, and they’re free to run with that business model.
However, that leads to ingredients, products, and employee interactions being watered down to please everyone.
Certain coffee and food establishments are guilty of this because they don’t want to take any culinary risks.
This is why I prefer shops you can’t find anywhere else, or ones with a few locations.
Read More: The Best Coffee Shops in Durham
Small Businesses Support Communities
I know bigger businesses support communities in various ways and that locals own many franchises.
With local businesses, there’s usually a personal investment behind a contribution. For example, the owner’s kid is playing on a team in the league that’s being supported.
In times of need and local emergencies, many local shops act quicker than the bigger ones and help local citizens and emergency workers. There are also more than a few local restaurants and coffee shops that allow customers to purchase meals in advance for people in need.
Let us know if you want to call out a business that helps its community in the comments section!
No Shareholders to Appease
Many local businesses don’t have the backup funds that bigger corporations and chains do.
They don’t have to ensure this quarter was better than the last one, and there’s no need to report their earnings to a group of suits in some far-off board room.
Thus, there are no corners to cut next quarter or ways to increase income so the stock will go up. For a small business, it comes down to providing great service and products that people will come and buy today and beyond.
Your Business Counts
Finally, these brave and inspiring owners bust their humps day in and day out to provide us with exceptional services and goods.
Because your business counts, and one bad month could mean a business owner might start thinking about what to do if they have to shut down.
Let’s not allow them to think about plan B and support them today and beyond.
Shameless Plug: Visit the NC Tripping Shop and Support Us
Ways to Support Local Businesses in NC with Your Wallet
Now that you know the “why” behind this post, here are some ways that we support local businesses in North Carolina.
- Shop local downtown across NC: Don’t listen to anyone who says, “we’re full.” Downtowns need your support and your business, no matter how big.
- Visit Farmers Markets: Visiting a farmers market is one of our favorite ways to spend a Saturday morning; some are open during the week.
- Purchase Gift Cards for your family and friends: Gift cards are an excellent way to shop locally in NC, especially if your family and friends live nearby. For our annual Best of NC vote, we offer one participant a $100 gift card and suggest they choose a nearby local business for it to come from.
- Order Online for Delivery (Includes Events T-shirts, Books, Retail Products, Food): Many businesses have realized that a convenient online shopping experience is necessary to survive. For example, I love ordering books from local bookstores directly or via Bookshop.org. You can create a registry with them and assign your sales to support a specific independent bookstore you love.
- Sign Up for Membership Clubs and Subscriptions: Membership clubs are fun because they connect you with fellow community members. For example, you get invitations to special events or discounts on gear. We also love subscriptions and have enjoyed regular deliveries from local coffee shops, wineries, candle makers, and more.
- Participate in Small Business Events (ex., Small Business Saturday): I love seeing the energy and work that small businesses put into their events, held regularly, monthly, annual, and all of the above.
Free Ways to Support Local Businesses in NC
If you cannot help with your wallet, that’s okay. But if you have a phone or access to a computer, here are some FREE ways to help:
- Interact with local businesses on social media: Like, heart, and comment nicely, and you’ll be helping that business community grow.
- Leave kind reviews or recommend them when asked to do so online: If a small business gave you great service and/or products, let them know! Many will follow-up requesting a review so you won’t have to search hard for how to do so.
- Share their posts and business page on YOUR social media: You can go even further and share a business’s post and page on your social media. I think this is better than the latest hot take on whatever is happening in the world, but to each their own!
- Tell us about local businesses in NC: So now that we’ve shared our feelings about supporting local businesses in North Carolina (and worldwide, honestly!), we’d love to hear it from you. Which businesses in your community deserve some spotlight? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share your favorites on Saturdays in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group!
More Ways to Shop Local NC (and Things to Do!)
After meeting many owners, brewers, chefs, and distillers, I have become an evangelist for small businesses in North Carolina. We at NC Tripping will always support them and hope you feel that way, too.
We’ve created many more travel guides that will help you shop local in NC and support local businesses throughout the state. Here are a few of them!