New Orleans’ Small Businesses Help Communities Thrive
Here at Mushroom New Orleans, we’re huge proponents of shopping locally. Yes, it’s a self-preservation instinct, but as a small business, we like to think we’re part of a rich retail tapestry created by hardworking, creative, service-oriented people. They’re an under-appreciated yet vital part of New Orleans culture. In short, they make the city what it is — and unfortunately, they’re more vulnerable than ever. Here are some compelling reasons why now is the time to shop local.
1. It directly supports your community.
When you shop local, your friends and neighbors benefit directly. According to Forbes.com, for every $100 you spend at a local business, $68 will stay in your community. By contrast, when spent in a big-box store, only $43 of that same $100 stays in your community. That’s a compelling reason to shop local even during the best of times, as are the relationships you forge with small business owners and workers (they really do know your name, your shoe size, your choice of tobacco blend, and your coffee order). But during a pandemic-induced economic downturn, when unemployment is skyrocketing and many people are struggling to make ends meet, it just makes sense to extract the most value from every single dollar. Shopping local lets you do that.
2. It’s better for the environment.
You could pay extra to have an item shipped, or you could walk, bike, or take public transportation to your nearest shop. We’re blessed in that New Orleans has a dense, walkable footprint, and that retail corridors are scattered throughout most of our neighborhoods (Magazine Street, the French Quarter, Oak Street, Harrison Avenue, the CBD, the Marigny, and more are practically pedestrian malls). When shopping in an environmentally friendly way, it’s necessary to examine every step of the production chain, including packaging and transportation of the retail item. Walking reduces the carbon footprint — and it’s good for you, too.
3. It can save you money.
Amazon Prime costs, shipping and handling, and subscription fees to other online retailers add up. They also might make you more likely to buy more stuff (which you probably don’t need). Amazon Prime members spend $1,400 per year on orders, while non-members spend only $600 per year, according to a 2018 article by Business Insider.
4. Shopping local provides instant gratification.
Have you noticed that items aren’t shipping as fast? What used to be a two or three-day wait now can stretch into a week or longer (plus, since we live in New Orleans, there’s always the risk of a package getting snatched from your porch if you don’t answer the door the second it arrives). With local shopping, you get what you need when you need it — and there are no unpleasant surprises (poor fit, wrong color, missing pieces) when you bring it home.
5. Local businesses are time-tested.
New Orleanians know what it’s like to recalibrate to a “new normal” — and while it’s something we hoped to never do again in our lifetimes, we do admit that we’ve acquired some hard-won disaster-coping skills. What we’ve learned time and time again is that during dark times, we must lean on each other if we want to survive. That’s true for our people, and it’s true for our businesses. You’ve loved our store since 1970, and we’ve been here with you through all of New Orleans’ challenges. Thank you for being here for us.
The Mushroom is open to the public every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. With everything from records and music memorabilia to funky apparel and essential oils, we are New Orleans’ vape shop, record store, and smoke shop rolled into one 3,000-square-foot emporium. Capacity will be limited to six people at a time, and you must bring your own mask. Curbside pickup is available and encouraged. Please call (504) 866-6065 to place an order for curbside pickup or to get more information about coming to the store. See you soon!