What is Local?
In every small town across the country, we all hear the same phrases…. “Shop Local”, “Community First”, “Buy Local” and the list will go on. What does it really mean to shop local?
Shopping local is more than actually making purchases, it starts with Thinking Local. Thinking Local has many benefits, for instance when buying an item from a big box store, the money is spent to employ local people yes, but the bulk of the money gets sent off to a corporate location and the dollars are just “gone”….permanently. Repeating this process increases the cycle to where local business starts to suffer, as there is no money circulating in the local economy.
A short scenario would be a local flower shop buys a new sign from a local sign shop. In turn this sign shop buys new tires at the local mechanic shop. The mechanic shop in turn buys parts from the local parts store. The parts store in turn buys flowers for his wife at the local flower shop. This full circle happens daily all over the country in small towns. When you buy flowers at a big box store….. the circle ends at the first single purchase.
Obviously, not every product can be purchased locally, but we start with the thought of local first. Yes, shopping locally can cost more, because most local small businesses do not have the buying power for low low prices. What the local business does have is personalized customer service, a friendly local smile, and reinvestment in the local economy for their families survival and yours.
Behind the scenes, local money gets reinvested in more than just other goods from other local stores. Thinking Local helps drive the community by having more money available to sponsor events, fall festivals, rodeos, sports, not to mention charity donations. All of those are only possible if money is spent locally, those things start to dwindle when the cash is not there to help out. Take the time to thank a sponsor, the gesture means more to them than you might think.
Thinking Local helps to improve the local economy by keeping money “in” the local economy. One study shows that every $100 dollars spent in a small business will have roughly $70 recirculated into the community through various ways, while that same $100 spent at a big box store or chain restaurant drops the number to roughly $40. Local small business owners usually support each other for both business and personal reasons, many knowing the daily struggle to survive. A local business makes a personal connection that chain stores cannot usually make, when a local business celebrates an anniversary, the community in some small way celebrates also, while a chain stores anniversaries do not mean anything, if celebrated at all at a local level. The chain stores do not have a personal investment in the health of the local economy outside of the bottom line. When a local business is successful, we celebrate with them, when they struggle or unfortunately close, we quietly weep.
Thinking Local makes us very unique. All the small businesses that make up the downtown area, the industrial park, the highway corridor all have a unique input to the local community. This input makes a town unique, like no other town out there, it defines us as a place to be. Every customer that walks through the door of a local business makes a personal connection that bonds the town together with the strength of community.
Think Local. Buy Local. Be Local.