Jim Clark: Shopping local makes good sense
November 27, 2015
Why should we buy our goods and services locally? I think we all know that on some things, you can get better deals online or by making that trip down the road to Denver or Silverthorne. I'll admit I've done it. But it isn't always the best thing — or even the least expensive thing —in the long run.
According to the study "Civic Economics- Andersonville Study of Retail Economics," here's what happens when you shop local.
• More of your money will be kept in your local economy.
For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community.
• You embrace what makes your community unique.
You wouldn't want your house to look like everyone else's in the U.S., so why would you want your community to look that way?
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• You create local jobs.
Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for your neighbors. When you shop locally, you help create jobs for teachers, firemen, police officers and other essential professions.
• You help the environment.
Buying from a locally owned business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and less packaging.
• You nurture community.
Local business owners know you, and you know them. Studies have shown local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.
• You conserve your tax dollars.
Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance and more money available to beautify your community. Also, spending locally instead of online ensures your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong — in your community.
• You create more choice.
Locally owned businesses pick the items and products they sell based on what they know you like and want. Local businesses carry a wid¬er array of unique products because they buy for their own individual markets.
• You take advantage of their expertise.
You are their friends and neighbors, and locally owned businesses have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. They're passionate about what they do. Why not take advantage of it?
• You invest in entrepreneurship.
Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business en¬sures a strong community.
• You made your community a destination.
The more interesting and unique your community, the more it will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone.
This list focuses on locally owned businesses. I want to emphasize there are also businesses here that have ownership outside the community; they are major contributors to our economy, employ our residents, collect and pay taxes and support local causes. They are part of our town, too. As a former franchise owner, I realize a small percentage of the money spent in franchise establishments leaves town. Franchises and chains are local, too. Just try to buy it here.
I've got my own reasons to shop local:
• Shopping in town is just more fun. I can get a local perspective on what works or fits best here. I spend enough time staring at a computer screen as it is.
• Returns are a heck of a lot easier.
• If I have a problem or a question with something I've purchased, it's a small town. There's a good chance I'll have a relationship with that store or service. Try that with an 800 number.
• Local businesses donate to non-profits in our community, which enriches our quality of life and helps many in need. When was the last time you saw Amazon sponsor a local event?
• I can buy a gift that speaks to the great place I live.
Have fun shopping. See you at the store.
Jim Clark is CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.
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