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Lunch » Tags » Business » Reviews » Economics 101: Why you should support local businesses. » User review

The case for supporting locally-owned and operated retailers whenever possible.

  • Feb 10, 2010
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+5

For as long as I can remember I have always had a soft spot in my heart for locally-owned businessesI make it my business to support them whenever I can.  This is something that I feel very strongly about.  Aside from the fact that I derive a great deal of satisfaction of walking into a place "where everybody knows your name" I find that I usually get much better service in these stores.  Very often the owner is right there on the premises and he/she is quite willing to go the "extra mile" to satisfy a valued customer.  I find that this is in direct contrast to the environment in the "big box" stores where I always feel like I am rambling through a maze amid a sea of strangers. 

But aside from the comfort factor there are an awful lot of very compelling economic reasons why you should support local businesses whenever possible.  First and foremost,  local businesses are invested in your community.  If you look behind the scenes at any civic activity that contributes to the common well being of  your community you are likely to find a local business person giving their time, product and often their money to worthwhile causes.  These are the folks most likely to support the cub scout raffle, the cheerleaders car wash and the PTA bake saleLocal business people are the unsung heroes of our communities.  They are the leaders, the ambitious, hard working people who have ideas and act on them.   

Another good reason to do business with the locals is that the money you spend in a locally owned and operated establishment stays local.  If you do business with one of the big chain stores most of that money leaves your hometown and as a result you and your neighbors accrue very little benefit from this spending.  Meanwhile, when you choose to spend your dollars at the locally owned hardware or grocery store  that money is more likely to be spent again and again in the local economy.  A number of economic studies have found that locally owned businesses generate more than three times the economic impact of chain retailers on equal sales.  For every $100 spent at a national retailer only $13 remains in the local economy.  Meanwhile, if that same $100 is spent at a locally owned business more than $45 stays in the local economy.  Simply put, that dollar you spend with the local merchant goes a whole lot farther in the local economy than money spent in the national chain stores.  This is a "win-win" situation for us all.   

I urge you to consider all of this information the next time you are contemplating where to purchase your next lawnmower or refrigerator.  Sure, doing business with a local retailer may cost you a bit more in the short run.  But trading with local merchants keeps competition alive in your town and helps to keep local property taxes in check.  That's because local businesses pay their fair share of taxes.  However, the same cannot be said for the "big box" stores.   In her 2006 book "Big-Box Swindle: The True Cost of Mega-Retailers and the Fight for America's Independent Businesses" author Stacy Mitchell tries to alert a largely unsuspecting public to the tactics and schemes used by these major chains to try to extort money from the rest of us.  For one thing retailers like Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target have been gobbling up precious open spaces at an alarming rate for decades to accomodate their mammoth stores.  And as Stacy Mitchell correctly points out there are all sorts of costs that a city or town must incur when a big box retailer comes to town.  There are property tax breaks, sales tax rebates, low interest loans, infrastructure and site improvements, free or reduced price land, job training credits etc. etc. etc.  Seems like the rich just keep getting richer while the rest of us are forced are forced to make up the taxes that these mega-retailers are not paying.  And as the big chains proliferate there is also the loss of genuine community that exists when we meet and greet our neighbors in the local coffee shop or sporting goods store.  I rest my case.   I hope I made it well!

There are lots of good reasons to support your locally-owned retailer. There are lots of good reasons to support your locally-owned retailer. There are lots of good reasons to support your locally-owned retailer. There are lots of good reasons to support your locally-owned retailer.

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June 25, 2010
A much needed perspective - having lived in Princeton, NJ for the past decade you would think all the liberal elites that pontificate endlessly about localism would make the town a mecca for artisans and specialty merchants. You'd think... but you would have to ask them as they cue up around Olive Garden and WalMart. No one is immune!
 
June 25, 2010
A much needed perspective - having lived in Princeton, NJ for the past decade you would think all the liberal elites that pontificate endlessly about localism would make the town a mecca for artisans and specialty merchants. You'd think... but you would have to ask them as they cue up around Olive Garden and WalMart. No one is immune!
 
March 24, 2010
Good stuff. I am guilty of the Wal-Mart syndrome (as 99 percent of us are...or they wouldn't be Wal-Mart). I do, however, try to shop locally. This is especially true for restaurants and coffee shops. I prefer the mom and pops to the chains when it comes to dining. When it comes to big ticket purchases I tend to go with the big chains and that is my loss. I need to do some serious reflection on that. Great points about the local sponsorships and the money staying in the community!
 
February 25, 2010
Great review. Here in Kentucky, we have Kentucky Proud. It is a great movement which really gets the message out there of all of the great products and services in our corner of the world. Also, buying local is pretty eco-friendly. Reducing the transporting and shipping of goods as well as supporting local farmers and growers. You'll probably end up saving money too. Good stuff.
 
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More Economics 101: Why you should ... reviews
Quick Tip by . August 10, 2010
We have owned a family owned business for 35 years now. There is nothing like seeing the repeating customers over and over again. You know everyone by name and they greet you with sincere smile. Mom and Pop shops are becoming extinct by retail chains. We must make an effort to keep these types of businesses open by supporting them and referring family and friends to them.
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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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