If you’re really serious about saving money, you must shop local!

  1. rickleibo
  2. December 8, 2012 10:50 pm

If you're really serious about saving money, you must shop local!

The easiest way to save money comes simply from shopping local. Unless you aren’t paying attention it is hard to turn without seeing the “Shop Local” message. Many of us understand how that benefits us personally. However, even if you fully understand how much you personally save by shopping local, it’s sometimes hard to resist the allure of what seems like a good deal at a big box store. The fact is that in the long run and often in the short run the largest amount of savings comes from supporting your neighbors that own the businesses in your town.

Most of us will of course usually choose to do business where we think delivers the best value for our time and money. In an age where we are bombarded by corporate advertisements daily, perceptions may not be close to actual reality. The constant bombardment of “you will save money if you buy here” gets a lot of us to overlook the many values that the local business owner brings to not only us but our entire communities.

The town of Barnstable, Mass when faced with the prospect of adding corporate owned chains to the city took the time to do an impact study of adding corporate owned chains to the community. The study concluded that such development actually costs taxpayer’s more dollars in support to supply services and safety to the new development then the community actually reaps. So when the big box shows up you can expect to pay more taxes soon. In addition the most thorough study of big box stores impact by Dr. Ken Stone of Iowa State proved that there is also no sales tax benefit. They found that over 84% of big box store sales simply shifted dollars from local business.

There is also the huge benefit to the local economy when you shop local since the local business owner also does business locally. Independent local businesses employ a wide range of supporting services. They hire Local accountants, insurance agents, computer programmers, attorneys, sign companies, architects, landscapers, contractors, designers, advertising agencies etc. Local retailers are also much more likely to carry and sell locally produced goods, meaning more jobs for local producers. In contrast, a corporate owned chain is usually a clone of another store and requires no local planning. They bring in their own contractors and use a minimum of local goods or services.

The money you spend with your local merchants also creates a multiplied effect in the local economy.  For each dollar you spend with a local merchant almost half is returned to your neighborhood. According to an economic impact study performed in Austin, Texas by Civic Economics, for every $100 spent at a big box store $13 remained in the local community while $45 remained when spent with your neighbors that own the local businesses. A corporate-owned store’s profits are quickly sent off to the corporate headquarters while your neighbor’s profits are spent on improving and increasing the value of the house on the corner.

Of course there is also the considerable value in maintaining the character of your neighborhood. Have you ever walked down Main Street in a town and saw a Wal-Mart, Target, Kohls, Home Depot and a Lowes and said what a quaint downtown? When asked to name your favorite restaurant, café, or shop is it not a unique local business? When the local paper does the “Best of” poll have you ever seen or voted for big box store?

Local business owners are also essential to the areas charitable endeavors. The local business owners donate an average of 250% more to non-profit organizations then large corporations and frequently serve on local boards and support numerous local charities and causes.

The locally owned businesses in our communities are part of what makes our town a town. They define our sense of place and help make our town worth living in. However, we often forget that their survival depends on our patronage. Most have invested a lot of their life savings in their business and have a genuine interest in the communities’ long term health. If you really want to have a community and be rewarded with a better local economy, lower taxes, and just an overall better place to live…Shop Local!!!

If you would like more information on reasons to shop local please visit for the top ten reasons to shop local. See you at the neighborhood stores!

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