Just how does shopping at your Friendly Local Games Store (or any other local retailer) help your local community? Three reasons ( I can think of more but these are the three that come to mind immediately):
1. Jobs. Roughly 15 million people, or about 5% of the entire US population works in some aspect of retailing. Granted, it is not a glamorous job or an especially well paid job, though the average retail worker makes just over $18 an hour, according to statistics from the federal government, works just over 30 hours a week and earns about $2160 per month, before taxes, or about $26000 per year. Certainly not great and that level of pay is a major factor in the high employee turnover rate in retail as last time I checked it hit right at about 300%, meaning the average retailer has to fill a position 3 times a year. Still, retail does provide jobs in the community, jobs that go away if people opt to shop elsewhere. After all, most people first employment is in some form of retailing.
2. Sales Taxes—States and cities with a sales tax rely heavily rely on them to fund services for the residents of that city and state. Most online retailers still do not collect sales tax (technically the consumer is supposed to remit sales tax to the state and city, your annual tax forms usually have a place for you to pay the state any sales tax not collected by a retailer. Needless to say, most people do not fill in that blank. The State of Illinois made a concentrated effort to collect unpaid sales taxes through the income tax form several years back and barely recouped enough to cover the expense of collecting it). Sales (and property) taxes help fund the services your city and state governments provide such as police, fire, street and sewers, services for the poor and homeless, etc. Fewer taxes mean fewer services provided.
3. Your Money Stays Local—Shopping at a locally owned store means the money stays in the community, helping to generate those jobs I mentioned above and allowing other businesses to use those dollars to expand and enhance their offerings. Making a purchase at a locally owned store puts approximately 70% of that money back into the community. Even making a purchase at a chain store puts about 45% of your expenditure back into your city. Buying online puts nothing back into your city.