We hear the recommendation during the holiday season to shop local. That’s good advice. However that is something that I would favor all year long. There are some very good reasons to shop local as outlined by Sustainable Connections, a business association based in Bellingham, Wash. These are worth repeating:
1. Buy local—support yourself. Studies show that when you buy locally from an independent merchant, your money is much more apt to stay here. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $73 stays here and $27 leaves. For every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, $43 stays here and $57 leaves the community.
2. Support community groups. Various nonprofit community organizations receive 250 percent more from locally owned businesses than from nationally owned firms.
3. Create more good jobs. Small local businesses are the source of major employment; most people who are apt to work here are from the local community.
4. Increase the tax base. Most local businesses pay either property or sales tax or both. The wider the tax base, the better off individual businesses and residential taxpayers are.
5. Local decision-making. Decisions about products and services can usually be made quickly as owners—who are often times the managers—can quickly resolve issues.
A recent study done by Local Shift AZ based in Scottsdale, Ariz., indicated that if 10 percent of shopping was shifted to locally owned businesses in the State of Arizona, it would create 17,809 new jobs, $21,621,185 in new local wages and $55,694,130 in new dollars recirculating.
Local businesses deserve support all year long, not just during the holiday season.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.