2008-12-04 / Editorial

EDITORIAL

Buying local has many benefits

We hear more and more these days about the importance of buying local. That means buying from our local shops, merchants and restaurants. It also means purchasing food that is locally grown.

Of course, it is not always possible to purchase what you need locally. But if you think locally first, you'll find there are many benefits for yourself and your community.

Here are a few reasons to consider:

1. Local businesses are the backbone of the local economy. When you buy local, you are actually supporting yourself. Buying local helps maintain a diverse, healthy community. Studies have shown that when you buy from independent, locally-owned businesses — rather than nationally-owned businesses — your dollars have three times more impact in the community. Those dollars are used to make purchases from other local businesses. That helps to strengthen the economic base of the community.

2. Local businesses support local community groups. Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from small business owners than they do from large businesses.

3. Buying local keeps the community unique. Local businesses define the character of the community. Local businesses are where we shop, where we eat and where we have fun. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are integral to the distinctive character of the community. Local businesses make the community more dynamic and interesting.

4. When you buy local you reduce the environmental impact. Generally, you travel less when you buy locally. And locally-owned businesses can purchase local goods that require less transportation. This helps to reduce pollution, urban sprawl, automobile use and wildlife habitat loss. These days it's all about being green and reducing your carbon footprint. A sustainable economy is important.

5. Buy local and you'll help to create and preserve local jobs. Without doubt, small local businesses are this nation's largest employer.

6. You get better service when you buy local. Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling. People who work in local businesses take more time to get to know their customers. Local businesses treat you well because they want your repeat patronage.

7. When you buy local, you invest in the local community. Local businesses are owned by people who live in the community. Those business owners are less likely to leave and are more committed to the community's future.

8. Buy local and put your taxes to good use. Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally-owned stores entering the community.

9. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

10. Buying local encourages local prosperity through a strong local economy. Research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

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