The Importance of Shopping Local
Last night I went to a Shop Local rally in my community’s downtown district. Several business owners united to hold the rally in an attempt to make the public aware of just how important it is to shop local. That means buying things and spending money in stores that are locally owned. I guess I have been consciously aware of the need to support local small businesses, but I never completely understood why. I did a little research and it turns out, shopping locally really does make sense for your community and the economy.
* A 2002 Economic Impact Analysis in Austin, Texas was one of the first major studies to look at the difference between shopping at local stores versus big chains. The study found that for every $100 spent at a locally-owned store, $45 stayed in the local economy. For every $100 spent at a chain like Borders or Home Depot, however, the local economic impact was only $13.
* A 2003 study in Maine found similar results. They discovered that shopping local kept three times more money in the local economy than shopping at chains.
* A 2007 study done by the San Francisco Retail Diversity Study found that even a small change in customer spending can have a big impact on the local economy. The study found that if just 10 percent of residential spending were redirected toward local businesses it would give San Francisco a $192 million economic boost and generate nearly 1,300 new jobs. But the same would be true if 10 percent of business shifted from local stores to chains– the cost to San Francisco’s economy would be almost $200 million.
Besides the economic facts, shopping local maintains the character of your community. To find out more about local shops in your area, try searching for them at indiebound.org.