Christy, Social Media & Marketing
If my Facebook news feed is any indicator, buying local is the new black. All anyone can talk about is locally designed and created goods and farm-to-table dining. There is a seemingly unending surge of support for small businesses. It’s the cool thing to do.
But going local is more than just a trend; it makes sense. Here are just a few arguments in favor of local living:
1. The Numbers
Let’s crunch some numbers first. A study published on Local First Chicago found that if you spend $100 at a locally owned business, $73 stays in the local economy. Local merchants buy from local suppliers; pay local taxes that support local schools, police and fire services; pay wages to local residents; and make donation to causes within the community.
On the other hand, when you spend $100 at a non-local business, $57 leaves your community. This is because non-local companies get supplies and business services from other organizations outside the region and less of their tax dollars stay in the local economy.
There are other studies out there examining the economic effects of shopping and dining locally. While the exact numbers vary from study to study, the conclusions are consistent: the more you shop and dine at locally owned establishments, the more money you’re reinvesting in your local community. You literally have a hand in supporting local farmers, artists, designers and professionals. Not bad.
2. Unique Items
When I want a unique item, I look first in the independent shops in my neighborhood. Local business owners often get their goods from other independent, local suppliers who create products in small batches. Corporate chains, on the other hand, must stock several locations across the country; to mitigate costs, they often fill their shelves with mass produced goods.
For example, I know when I visit that local stationery and card shop at Fullerton and Clark, I’ll be able to find original cards, designed by local artists, for every occasion under the sun. The same cannot be said of the selection of greeting cards at the Walgreen’s up the road.
3. Going Local = Going Green = Getting Fit
Shopping and dining in your neighborhood often only requires a walk or quick bike ride. Not only are you going green, you’re also getting some exercise. Plus you’re taking advantage of this great weather (hello 80s!).
4. Quality Products & Service
Owners of local shops and restaurants rely on each customer who comes through the door. Therefore, they care about each person’s experience and will do their best to make sure you enjoy yours. Years of informal observation have driven me to the conclusion that independent merchants put a good deal of effort into what they offer and the result is higher quality products and services than their big-box competitors.
So there you have it. Four reasons to shop and dine locally. I barely broke the surface, so please feel free to expand. Do you have any reasons to add to the list?