In so many ways, supporting local businesses is what drives the local economy. We see trickle effects when people decide to make their purchases at small businesses, rather than online or at non-local chains.
I understand, you can’t always shop locally. But there are choices we can make, such as buying coffee from The Lean Bean rather than Starbucks, or committing to make 15 percent of our purchases at local stores and farmers markets.
So, with the holiday shopping season in full gear — and on a day when shoppers are heading to local retailers to support Small Business Saturday — I’m looking at other business owners to see how they’re driving sales in this highly competitive retail market. It's not easy, but we're doing what we can.
If you’re buying at a big-box store, you’re feeding money outside the economy to wherever their headquarters are…
Look at a local business — a dollar spent there stays in the economy. It goes to local payroll, to the owner, to local taxes, and it really adds up very, very quickly. One of the things about shopping local is consumers may be able to get a better deal online, but immediately the tax revenue is lost. Sure, we all want to save money and I get that, but it’s the tax revenue that gets potholes filled and firefighters and police officers employed.
There’s a term, United States of Generica, where you go into any town and find exactly the same stores and restaurants. That completely kills the local flavor. You don’t see people raving about the local Applebee's…to maintain that here, you have to shop local and support local businesses.
Local business owners are, by default, invested in the local community. We drive on the same streets that you do, our kids go to the same schools as yours, and you run into us all the time but don't even know it.
I get that people are going to shop on price, but if they can do some of their shopping locally, it will make a difference. I get the allure of wanting to save a certain percentage on something, but you know what? Making 10 to 15 percent of your purchases locally this year would make a huge difference.
Things that are comparable on price, source them locally. Find the local source for it and shop there.
"the choice is yours; we choose local."
Roots Community Kitchen