What shopping local really means
By J.P. Mansfield
When you think about getting the most out of your money, you might think about long-term investments — things such as high-yield accounts, 401k, IRAs, real estate investment, and so forth.
And as you might imagine, these are all great options for the money you want to keep, but how do you get a return on investment for the money that you spend?
The answer is simple — shop local.
Significance of shopping local
When you shop local, you’re making a personal investment in your neighborhood and community. In fact, for every $100 spent, roughly $68 to $73 of it returns to local activity.
Money is kept in the community because locally-owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers, and farms. Purchasing local helps grow other businesses as well as our region’s tax base.
Whether you realize it or not, when you shop local you are individually stimulating the local economy with your support and in turn, helping shape your community’s unique character and personality.
Shop Local — Small Business
Rewarding reasons to shop local
“Improving the local economy” captures most of the headlines when discussing the idea of shopping local but honestly, there are a lot more great reasons to make it a conscious consideration. Here are just a few examples …
1. Receive the personal touch
Because the employees are likely personally invested in the products or services they are selling, they are more likely to go the extra mile for their customers when it comes to providing product/service descriptions, uses, backstories, and customer service.
Less crowds and a more personalized shopping experience provide more opportunities for customer service to take shape. In addition, local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise, giving them the ability to “storytell” their brand when educating potential customers.
2. Creates more jobs
Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally. In fact, since the 1970s, more than 65% of new jobs have come from the rise in small business.
Not only do small businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue, they’re also the customers of local businesses themselves.
3. Shorter lines
Shorter, and more infrequent, lines mean less stress and hassle when it comes to getting what you need from the business.
4. Reduces environmental impact
Transportation is a big reason why. Because local businesses make more local purchases, less transportation is required. In turn, you’re contributing less to pollution, traffic congestion, habitat loss and resource depletion.
5. Nonprofits receive more support
Local business owners provide significant support for nonprofits. In fact, nonprofits receive as much as 350% more money from local shops than non-locally owned businesses.
6. Puts taxes to good use
In addition to generating more tax revenue per sales dollar, taxes paid by small, local businesses are widely used to support schools, parks, roads, and other local programs that benefit your friends, family, and community.
7. Unique and exclusive
Two words … small batch.
Oftentimes the production of small-batch products involves the use of techniques, processes, and/or ingredients that might not be seen as “cost-efficient” in mass production. When you shop at local businesses, you’re likely getting something that’s unique and exclusive.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
J. P. Mansfield III is president of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance.