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Just Saying: Buy Local and Keep Recycling Your Money at Home

May 15, 2015
Joseph T. Pelt - Tribune Editor , Pierce County Tribune

As some small downtowns economies continue to decline, a sense of helpless engulfs the town's people wondering why it is happening and how to fix it. Actually, there is a simple solution. As reported by "Independent We Stand" if every family in the United States spent an extra ten dollars a month at local businesses, approximately 9.3 billions dollars would be returned to the local economies. It is a worthwhile endeavor to buy locally in order to build sustainable communities, link neighbors, promote diversity, increase local tax base, and keep the uniqueness of the community alive.

Some people like the concept of buying local but do not practice it because they have a false sense that buying local cost more. While that can be true for some products, in the short term, the cost of allowing dollars to leave the community has a larger, more perilous economic impact than possibly paying a few dollars more for a product. If you hold true to the beliefs that buying elsewhere is cheaper, you truly fall into the category of "penny wise and pound foolish."

On a personal level, there are many more relationships formed by buying from people we know. This results in more honest business. We know what we are getting and where it is coming from when we purchase a product from someone we know. Also, if it falls short of your desire you know where to complain.

Buying locally generates more money for the community. For every $100 spent in local businesses it is believed that $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures.

When we buy local it also allows local owners to invest in their business allowing them to create and maintain a community ambiance. How many times when asked what our favorite restaurant, cafe, or shop is, we almost always cite a unique local business. We not only talk about what they sell but how they look. We embrace the idea of distinctive businesses with local character, but yet for the matter of convenience we allow our money to meander to stores outside our economic region. Often we forget the very survival of local businesses depends on our patronage. It is easy for us to get so consumed by efficiency that we forget that every dollar spent outside the community is a nail in the local economy. We owe it to ourselves to consider the quality of our experience, as well as the possible ripple effect of where we choose to spend our money.

A local business has much of their life invested in the success of the business. Consequently, they have a natural instinct to assist in the long-term health of their community. Local businesses are essential to charitable endeavors with their employees, managers, and owners, frequently serving on local boards, fire departments, as coaches, and supporting a variety of causes.

While the economic reasons for buying locally are strong on their own, creating or maintaining uniqueness is also paramount. When we walk down our streets, we would rather see unique neighborhood shops and owners who have the ability to reinvest in their stores than economic plight because of lack of business. It's safe to say that most people enjoy inviting, diverse places offering unique services lining our streets.

A little change goes a long way. Here are some ideas for how to contribute to the local economy: Attend community events. Stroll downtown and visit the local shops. Have loyalty to the local financial institutions and insurance companies. Support the library. Support the local photographers. Purchase from the local clothes stores and specialty shops. Visit the Quilt shops. Use the wonderful train in Rugby. Buy from the local promotion and design company. Enjoy the local ice cream shop. Shop at the local car dealerships. Go to the local theater. Support the local pharmacies. Shop at the street fairs and farmer's markets. Donate to as many local organizations as you can afford. Buy furniture from the local furniture store. Buy your carpet and blinds locally. Use the local medical services whenever you can. Stop for a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop. Attend local fairs and festivals. Go to a local restaurants and bars. Give gift certificates from local businesses. Subscribe to your local newspapers, (okay that was self serving).

Taking all this into consideration, lets help to keep our local economies going by making a conscious decision to buy locally more often. If a store doesn't have what you are looking for ask them to get it. In most cases you will find local storeowners are appreciative when a customer cares enough to suggest what they should carry. Remember, every dollar spent locally supports our schools & neighborhoods, roads, and infrastructure, police and fire departments, creates jobs and gives a town a sense of pride that it can provide for its own.

To our local businesses this doesn't fall solely on the consumer. It is up to all of us to treat each customer as a treasured commodity. We should not only give customer service but we should give over the top customer service. If we do not have what they want we should try to carry it for them. We should all implore our employees if someone comes in our place of business and is looking for something to do in town have a suggestion or steer them to someone who does. It is up to each and every one of us to promote our area so it can prosper.

 
 

 

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