Buy Local Week starts next saturday, November 29th and runs through December 6th. Local First, a non profit organization supporting local businesses suggests shifting just 10% of your purchases to locally owned stores. That 10% can make a huge difference in our local economies.
Why is shopping local so important?
From the Local First website:
Locally owned, independent businesses reflect the character of our communities. Owners of local businesses live here. They are our neighbors. Their products and services support and sustain the needs of our residents, and they play a vital role in our social networks. In fact, local businesses mirror who we are and what we value as a community. They help to create a sense of place. Emerging research demonstrates that local and independent businesses generate more than three times the return to our local economies than do national chain stores. This is because business owners typically purchase support services (marketing, accounting, legal, design) from local firms and are often better employers, who pay living wages and offer benefits. Additionally, profits from local businesses tend to stay in our communities. Local businesses offer the greatest opportunities for jobs, innovation, and other community contributions, which improve the quality of life for local residents. Over the last several years, global trends and market forces have resulted in consolidation, mergers, and acquisitions in many business sectors. Growth among mass merchandisers, internet retailers, and big-box stores, ultimately reduces the selection and diversity of products and services available in our communities. With such intense competition, the market share of goods and services sold by local and independent businesses has eroded, in some cases, dramatically. Many communities and countless urban and rural main streets that only a few short years ago featured thriving local- business districts are now in decline. The result is less choice for consumers, a growing sameness of design, of products, and of services, less opportunity for innovation, fewer living-wage scale jobs and reduced reinvestment back into our community. Decaying main streets and homogenized neighborhood commercial zones are blighting many communities and taxpayers struggle to reclaim the vitality and the culture that these businesses helped to support.