Buying local is more than just a hippie mantra or a new fad on social media.
It’s the future, and a new standard in acquiring the goods and services we use in our everyday lives. While buying local is an “old world” concept, it’s certainly not old-fashioned. Buying local benefits everyone in our communities, and it’s time to seize this golden opportunity to integrate the old ways of yesterday with the present, to improve our communities and the overall global society in a positive and more self-reliant way. By making conscious decisions to support local merchants, food growers and service providers, we are embracing our local economies and empowering our cities, our neighbors and our selves to grow and thrive.
In the age of global economic, political and social instability, buying locally matters, because it keeps wealth and jobs flowing within the community. According to the Retail Merchants Association, for every $1 spent at a local merchant, $.45 is reinvested locally, while only $.15 stays in the community from the same dollar spent at a big box store. Just imagine the powerful impact we could make in our communities if we modified our buying habits!
Our actions matter, and we have the freedom to vote with our wallets. Here are our top seven reasons to patronize local businesses:
- Buying locally strengthens communities. Local purchases keep the wealth in our neighborhoods, increasing the prosperity for the people around us instead of going to a far-away corporation.
- Buying locally reduces the fuel necessary to acquire goods for our homes, businesses, and bellies. Why buy food that travels thousands of “food miles” if we can buy fresh, local produce here?
- Buying locally demonstrates community pride. By patronizing a local hardware store instead of a big box alternative, we contribute to helping a local business stay in business in today’s challenging economic climate. Customer service is more personalized, and we get to see the same familiar faces each time we visit.
- Buying locally gets us out of the house or office and outside onto the street where we interact, connect and network with others who live and work around us. In doing so, we expand our own community sphere.
- Buying locally increases our knowledge of available and productive resources in our community, which could serve as a lifeline in the event of a disaster. While we like to focus on the positive, we live in a world where disasters happen. Having a strong and sustainable local infrastructure and food network is not just smart. It’s essential.
- Buying locally enables us to invest directly into our local economy. By contributing to a local business we help to preserve existing local jobs and create new skilled jobs. Local businesses are also the most ardent supporters of local parks, libraries, events, and the great area amenities that make communities unique.
- Buying locally builds trust and positivity, opens minds and hearts, and makes us more independent as a community. A more connected community is safer, more resilient and self-reliant in times of uncertainty.
The winners of the new economy will not be the cities with the most big box stores or ecommerce shipments. The winners will be the cities with thriving local economic infrastructures. With residents who want more independence and self-reliance. Cities that encourage and empower a local business culture. Communities of people who want to be the change.
As our society evolves, our thoughts and actions matter now more than ever. Whether you’re a consumer, entrepreneur, artist, businessperson or policy maker, you can take action today. As you plan your next purchase, ask yourself if you can find what you’re seeking at a locally owned establishment rather than online or at a major chain. Challenge others to do the same.
Start rediscovering your city today and make a difference where it really counts!
Localism Advocacy Director
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”