Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Buying Local is More Important Now than Ever

With the economic crisis, it is more important now than ever to support local businesses. This great article that talks more about the importance of buying local.

The Culture of Big has brought us to the verge of a Big Collapse.

Could we be doing it differently? Yes, we could, by replacing “big” and “global” with “small” and “local.” Proponents of this increasingly popular economic strategy envision a web of thriving locally owned small businesses that collectively preserve local character and culture and bring our Main Streets back to life while ensuring the sort of stable, long-term economic foundation that increasingly appears beyond the reach of our top-heavy Culture of Big.
The article then lays out 4 reasons to buy local...
First, local businesses don’t move. They’re reliable generators of wealth for the local community. Local governments often focus on attracting or retaining big corporations, only to find that at some point down the road they flee. Local businesses stick around and generate income for years and often generations.

Second, local businesses have a higher economic multiplier. What this means is that a dollar spent at a local business tends to circulate in the local economy longer. About six years ago, a study was conducted of economic multipliers in Austin, Texas. When a person spent $100 at a Borders bookstore, $13 stayed in the local economy. When the books were purchased at a locally owned bookstore, $45 out of the $100 recirculated locally. Many similar studies have been conducted and they all point to the same conclusion.

Third, local businesses have a size and character that is consistent with leading theories of what makes a community flourish. People want walkable communities. Megamalls and industrial aren’t compatible with this, but small and home-based locally owend businesses are. Communities built around locally owned businesses are also more appealing to the so-called “creative class,” a term coined by the social scientist Richard Florida to describe knowledge workers and other “creatives.” These people are a key driving force of economic development, and they’re drawn to communities that are diverse, entrepreneurial, and fun to live in—in short, communities with lots of locally owned businesses. In addition, tourists tend to be drawn to local businesses.

Fourth, local businesses have a smaller carbon footprint because their inputs and their markets tend to be more local.
I don't shop at Wal Mart mainly because I believe it harms local businesses. I would much rather eat at my local sports bar than go to Applebees. One of my favorite things to do on a Saturday afternoon is to visit the locally owned stores in Des Moines' East Village or in downtown Ames.

In support of local businesses, please add a comment sharing your favorite local businesses.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Here's a half-dozen local eateries/food stores for two Iowa towns...

Marshalltown
1- Tremont on Main and the Grille
2 - Mexico Antiquo
3 - The Marketplace
4 - 13th Street Inn
5 - Doo-Dahs
6 - Fields

Des Moines
1 - Grand Piano Bistro
2 - Gong Fu Tea
3 - Ted's Coney Island
4 - Taki
5 - Baratta's
6 - Zanzibar's Coffee Adventure

And as an encore...
I highly reccomend The Old Opera Cafe in Nevada