Making the Shift
We at Totally Local VC feel that rather than simply promoting “buying local,” we are suggesting that we take a larger role as stewards. By thinking local and living local we can make choices that have a dramatic impact on our local communities, economies, and environments. We do understand that we cannot find everything we need at a local independent establishment. But we are advocating that people work toward living local by looking first for locally produced and owned sources for the things we might need or want. TLVC encourages a 10% shift in spending to local.
How does this equate to our local economy you ask. Well, a 10% shift in spending to independent business can result in an average of 1,600 new jobs, $53 million in wages, and $137 million economic impact to the area. A 10% shift in food spending could redirect $186 million each year to countywide farmers and ranchers. That is a pretty significant impact – and it only takes 10%! Our goal is to encourage our community to work together to help create a thriving local economy by maximizing the potential of local businesses, farming, the arts and organizations. And, by doing this, we will transfer market share (business, government, and consumer purchases) from non-locally-owned businesses to local, independently-owned businesses and other local groups such as artists, musicians and organizations.
Even more benefits of being totally local
Local character and prosperity seem to be lost in this increasingly homogenized world. But communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage:
- Community Well-Being. Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.
- Local Decision Making. Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
- Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy. Compared to chain stores, locally-owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.
- Job and Wages. Locally-owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
- Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
- Public Benefits and Costs. Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.
- Environmental Sustainability. Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walk able town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
- Competition. A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term.
- Product Diversity. 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.
The shift to locally-owned business is really not that difficult and the benefits to our community are huge! Join the support-local movement today and help build a stronger community from within.
Image credits: Broc Ellinger and Kat Merrick.