Tammy’s Top Ten (t3 report) Reasons to Shop Locally

I don’t believe that shopping locally is the end-all to the current economic disruption. I also don’t believe it has to be branded as a new kind of protectionism. In these trying times, I believe a multi-faceted recovery approach is necessary. It starts with a strong education system. The second and third prongs are attracting new industries and supporting those businesses that are here now – especially those that contribute to placemaking – which is part of why new industries would be attracted. Here’s why I think supporting local business matters:

Flickr.cc.2.0 Homini

1. Reports vary but it’s clear, a significantly higher percentage of your spend stays in your community when you shop with a local vendor.

2. A thriving local business community contributes to place-making. This makes a community unique and is also what attracts more businesses and keeps top-tier college graduates in a community – which is another business attraction.

3. Get better service. In a local business, there’s a stronger chance that you know the person behind the counter, and they know you. They may have a deeper understanding of the products they’re selling, and they may take more time to serve their customers.

4. It’s about job creation. Small businesses create 2 out of every three new jobs in our economy. This feeds the trend and the trend needs fed.

5. It’s likely that you save gas and travel time while doing business with an entity that is paying local taxes to contribute to local infrastructure such as libraries and police.

6. Your goods may also travel less distance using less fossil fuel. Clearly it depends on the type of business but using local food as an example, reports indicate that if every American ate only one locally grown meal each week, we’d reduce our country’s weekly oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels.

7. There are often more full-time workers with benefits in a locally owned business than in a national chain. This typically has long-term impacts on the health care systems and the community at large.

8. It’s rare for a national business to make a significant contribution to local philanthropy unless it’s their headquarters.

9. Local businesses are more likely to give their own business to other local businesses such as lawyers, sign makers, accountants and printers.

10. It gives you the opportunity to engage with local business people hence creating a larger sense of community.

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42 Comments

  1. All good reasons. This post is well timed with my “La Vida Local” challenge, and I will be linking to with next week’s post if that’s ok. I’ve added you to my blogroll too. Good job, Tammy.

    Reply
  2. Well said, Tammy. I do try to support local businesses when I can. Unfortunately, there are simply times where a click of a mouse is easier (and cheaper) to do in our very busy lives. I really wish local places would also have on-line inventories so that those of us who need to find something quickly can ‘see’ when a local shop has exactly what we need…

    Reply
    • Interestingly, today I met a cookie vendor who have a beautiful little shop but she started online and then branched out.

      Reply
  3. Great post Tammy. I agree that buying local is an important factor to consider especially if you can gain an understanding of the how and the why of that local business. I listened to an interview of Sue Conley who owns Cowgirl Creamery, a bay area artisan cheesemaker. http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com.

    She was asked why her cheese was so expensive and she said because it is important to not only fairly support her employees but that she thinks it is important to fairly support the local dairy farmer who supplies her milk. She says the farmers that she works with have great respect for the land, animals and people with whom they work.

    I love the sense of community that I contribute to by supporting her company.

    Reply
  4. I don’t shop much . . . so my impact on the local economy is negligible. Even so, I much prefer to buy local and support local Mom & Pop operations.

    And I NEVER EVER shop at WalMart since I don’t approve of their business practices.

    Reply
    • Me neither Nancy although I was told that here in my state they are going to mark the local items on the shelves.

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  5. I’m lucky to live in a suburb near the heart of Sydney which has been “village-ified”

    Almost everything I need to buy is within walking distance with good cafes, restaurants, numerous fruit and vegetable shops, 3 fish shops, a fabulous supermarket, two excellent thrift shops and a second hand bookshop. An independent cinema is a very short bus ride away.

    Unfortunately I live 40 minutes by car from where I work otherwise I’d probably seldom leave my village

    Reply
  6. Kath (My Funny Little Life)

     /  March 3, 2011

    Great reasons! I also love to shop locally because the produce is so fresh, and I like it better to buy it in a small local fruit and veg store where the people know me and chat with me while packing my stuff into paper bags than buying in a large supermarket.

    Reply
  7. #10, engaging, is my favorite reason. I love the feeling of knowing a shopkeeper or businessperson by name, and having them know me, my personality and needs. For me, that benefit (and others) makes a modest price difference worth it.
    Eleanor

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  8. I like the sense of community aspect. Sometimes it’s the little interactions in a day that make life feel better 🙂

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  9. Oh, Tammy, you make me think of the market in our town, such a sad little affair which could be such a different story. Your reasons are inspiring.

    Reply
  10. Lisa H

     /  March 4, 2011

    I love Pike’s Place Market! The photo brought back so many memories. Ken and I would drive to the market from Tacoma for a day out–have lunch, walk along the water, view the shops, and then buy items for our weekly meals. It never felt like shopping and that made our dinner taste all the better.
    Now that we live in Phoenix, I make a weekly trip to our local farmer’s market. There are no annoying announcements over loud speakers telling me of their “deals” or fluorescent lights changing the color of the food. Our family makes a morning out of the Saturday market–a trip out–sometimes taking our dog with us. We’re outside enjoying our beautiful weather as well as meeting new people and supporting our community.

    Reply
  11. Great summary of reasons for all of us to support home as much as possible.

    We have quite a challenge living on an island. Shop owners mark up prices on the basis that the consumer is saving a ferry fare of $25. However, the cumulative effect discourages locals. Consumers truly can save enormously by heading for the city with a long list so as to deem the ferry fare worthwhile.

    However, in the summer, we love our local veggie and fruit stands that we love to support. They make us feel very good – heath and heart wise.

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  12. Small business is where job growth is at, and if people can see a cause and effect relationship as to how they spend their money, that will likely spur growth. Love the Top 10.

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  13. Ten very good reasons, not that we need them to know that globalisation is wrong.
    But yes, two very good, justifiable reasons.
    We should be doing this

    Reply
  14. Ken Anderson

     /  March 7, 2011

    Great list, Tammy. these are all right on, and the best part of it is that it also makes so much logical sense. It doesn’t require a big financial or convenience sacrifice to be adopt sustainable practices any longer. What I think we’ll all need to get used to is eating locally grown, seasonal foods again, instead of artificially preserved canteloupe from Florida in January…

    Ken

    Reply
  15. A good list, Tammy! I also buy locally & even grow a part of my food myself, like, lettuce, peppers, red hot chili peppers, tomatoes, herbs, etc.

    I also buy organic, but not all of the tilme because it isn’t always better!

    Reply
  16. Another terrific, well thought out, levelheaded T3. I do so enjoy them! It’s total preaching to the choir since we’re always on the same page, but I like having new facts to make me sound clever and well-informed. I’ll definitely be using the 1.1 million barrels statistic in future conversations!

    Reply
  17. Such great points, Tammy, we should all keep these in mind when we’re shopping – I mean why not shop AND feel good about contributing to something important, strengthening that much needed sense of community? 🙂

    Reply
  18. Well argued Tammy, local businesses after cyclones here have been having special challenges.

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  19. As always, great arguments! I think #3, 6, and 10 are my favorites, and the ones I consider most when I’m shopping. But I’m glad to have a few more reasons!

    Reply
  20. I’m a little late to the party, but this post is worth framing.

    The only problem is there’s no empty rhetoric or blame involved. It makes too much sense to catch on with the knee-jerk reactionaries out there.

    Reply
  21. Living in rural France has taught me to shop at the local markets which not only keeps a tradition alive but also the income of small local farmers. 10 great reasons from you too!

    Reply

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