June 30th, 2009
Part I in the series BUY LOCAL
Buy Local Concept goes from Grassroots Efforts to Mainstream Economy
What has put “Local Motion” in our economy recently? Buy Local. A few years back when our economy was taking a real downward spiral the Buy Local concept started an upward trend as small businesses fought to resist the impact that big brands were having on their survival. These grassroots efforts turned into something much more powerful as consumers felt that impact of losing blocks of commerce and employment in their own towns and cities. The very basis of their existence was being threatened at an alarming rate.
Through the years there have been many incentives to buy locally but poor economic conditions have hindered their progress as big brands offered lower prices to a needy nation, crushing countless small businesses….that is until recently. The Buy Local concept supports the idea that it is not always possible to buy what you need locally but asks you to Think Locally First.
What is Buy Local?
A description of Buy Local from Wikipedia “Local purchasing is a preference to buy locally produced goods and services over those produced more distantly. It is very often abbreviated as a positive goal ‘Buy Local‘ to parallel the phrase think globally, act locally”.
“Buy Local“—you see the decal in store windows on Main Street, the sign at the farmer’s market, the colorful logos being posted in all kinds of media across the country The message is “We need to support our own businesses and economy”. Buying close to home is more than a good homey feeling, it’s a “we may be a little more expensive but we’re worth it” statement. Many researchers and organizations are taking a closer look at how money flows, and what they’re finding shows the profound economic impact of keeping money in our local communities—and how the fate of many communities’ economic growth around the country and the world increasingly see the need for this type of action.
Buy Local Organizations Start Having a Bigger Voice
There are now many organizations throughout the country that support the Buy Local concept by raising awareness and providing statistics to support the movement. They help small businesses to formulate ways in which to reach out to their communities. An article by SustainableConnections.org* lists the reasons this Buy Local concept is worthwhile:
Top Ten reasons to Think Local – Buy Local – Be Local
- Buy Local — Support yourself: Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally owned business, rather than a nationally owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.
- Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
- Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust
- Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
- Create more good jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and in our community, provide the most jobs to residents.
- Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
- Invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
- Put your taxes to good use: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
- Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
- Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
Think local first + Buy local when you can = Being a local!
(*You can find more information and statistics from them by going to http://sustainableconnections.org/thinklocal/why).
Here are some related links for more information on how to get started with a Buy Local campaign:
Big Box Tool Kit – Countering Mega-Retailers: Rebuilding Local Business http://www.bigboxtoolkit.com/
Institute for Local Self Reliance- http://www.ilsr.org/
Green Change Organization – http://www.greenchange.org/
How to Start a Buy Local Campaign – http://www.greenchange.org/downloads/How%20to%20start%20a%20buy%20local%20campaign.pdf
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) – http://www.livingeconomies.org/
Stay Tuned for the next part in the Buy Local Series
Throughout this series we will explore the different facets and benefits of Buy Local concept by taking a look at the various ways local businesses are bringing their efforts to the forefront, how the internet and social media are helping their progress and where they are today. We will discover the cause and effect that makes Buy Local so much more than just a concept, it’s a trending way of life. We will also take a look at You and your efforts in your communities….you don’t want to miss that!
Let’s Hear From You!
I am a local online business supporting small businesses and the Local Motion in my area. I too realize the need to step outside the Big Box as much as I can…yes, it’s not always possible but it’s worth trying to consider local first.
Are you supporting your local businesses with a Buy Local plan? I’d like to hear from you! Have you created a campaign that promotes Buy Local– Shop Local- Eat Local? Please let me know about what you are doing in your community. At the end of the series I will highlight some of the programs you submit so we can all learn and benefit from Buy Local!
website: MyInfoSnap.com “Your Florida Gulf Coast Online Guide”