Buy local. Support small businesses.
These slogans are becoming increasingly prevalent as large retail companies have gradually taken up more real estate on our main streets. But is there substance behind the sayings? Does shopping at midtown’s independent stores have any real benefits?
In a word, yes. For starters, significantly more money stays in the community when you shop at locally-owned businesses. Buying local also helps support the growth of other businesses and the local tax base. One recent study shows that locally-owned businesses generate a premium in enhanced economic impact. For every $100 spent at a locally-owned business, $45 goes right back into the community, compared to only $14 at a chain store.
Locally-owned businesses are more likely to hire architects, tradesmen, accountants and other ancillary service providers from the neighbourhood as chain stores generally keep those functions in-house.
Independent stores make a retail strip a community main street. Along with being an important part of our local neighbourhoods, Torontonians do come from all across the city to visit the Eglinton Way, Forest Hill Village and Mt. Pleasant BIAs because of unique destinations such as the Mad Bean, Little Dollhouse Co, Five Doors North, Zen Beginnings and Forest Hill’s art galleries.
To honour the important contribution that local, small and independent business owners make to our quality of life, I started a “Best of Midtown” award to celebrate their contributions to our community- and to thank them.
We’ve recognized people like Mira Bunda and her family who’ve run The Bread and Butter restaurant on Mt. Pleasant Rd. for the past two decades and Elinor Lefave, the owner of Mabels’ Fables. I have also discussed creating an initiative to support small, independent bookstores and cinemas- many of which have disappeared from our main streets over the years.
If you know of a small business owner in Midtown who you’d like to recognize, call 416 392-7906 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.