Many towns and cities are home to Pagan shops, but unfortunately they tend to come and go. It's a rare Pagan shop indeed that lasts more than a few years - your favorite store may be there one day, and vanish the next. That's partly because, like any small independent business - a locally-run Pagan shop depends on local customers for its livelihood. If customers don't patronize these shops, they vanish, because it's not cost-effective to run a business that's doesn't make a profit. Here are five reasons you should support local Pagan businesses if possible:
- Local businesses build the local economy. It's a no-brainer that local businesses help the economy in their community, because eventually they hire other people to do things for them. If you're opening up a small Pagan shop, you might be employing painters, an electrician, a sign-maker, and so forth. If you sell items on consignment, you can help other local vendors to make money as well. Prosperity has a ripple effect.
- Small shop owners tend to support the Pagan community. Sure, you might pay a couple of dollars more for that statue you've been wanting. But you're also paying for something else that you won't get by ordering online or from a catalog - community. Nearly every Pagan shop that is successful has eventually become a meeting place or networking spot for the local community, and that's something worth keeping around. And the only way to keep it around is to help pitch in. Pagan shop owners often sponsor classes, workshops, book signings, public events and meetups. Certainly, one of the goals of this is to draw more clientele to the shop - but it's also of benefit to everyone else.
- Making friends and networking. There's no Pagan Yellow Pages, so if you're looking for other Pagans, the best place to find them is somewhere that Pagans hang out. And the local Pagan or Wiccan shop is prime hunting ground. Meet the shop owner, become a regular, talk to other customers, and soon you'll know five times as many Pagans as you did before that shop opened.
- Small businesses versus big corporations. One of the biggest complaints in the Pagan community about local Pagan and Wiccan shops is "They're more expensive." Well, yes… sometimes. After all, smaller businesses aren't usually buying supplies in bulk - there's no Pagan version of WalMart (although that's not a bad thing). Sometimes you might pay a bit more for a product - but you're supporting someone who doesn't have a giant mega corporation behind them.
- Increasing choice and diversity. If a city can support one Pagan store, then you might wander in and think, "Hm. They have a pretty small selection of crystals here." But what if your community supported three Pagan stores, or even five? Then you'd have an increased level of choice in where you shopped and what you purchased. On a long-term scale, it makes economic sense to support businesses because eventually, they'll increase.