Why Buying Local Matters
What does it mean to shop local?
For starters, on the whole, non-locally owned chains and big box stores actually pull money from the local economy, creating a net loss of wealth, whereas locally-owned businesses generate economic value for the community. That’s a staggering reality that bears repeating: national chains have a negative effect on our local economy while local, independently-owned shops generate value for the local economy. That’s because local businesses recirculate money in the local economy at a much higher rate.
On average, for every $100 spent at a local store, $58 is recirculated into the local economy compared to just $31 at a non-locally owned company.
And what about Made in Akron? We project that $93 will be recirculated back into the Akron economy for every $100 spent at our store. That’s because we not only employ locals, but we buy our products from local companies, and choose local partners whenever possible (from banking to legal to accounting to printing).
Those economic impacts have vast rippling effects. Local shops result in higher employment in the community, foster community character, generate more donations to nonprofits, and reduce your carbon footprint. So whether you’re considering where to grab your next coffee, or if shopping an international online retailer is really your best bet for a new candle, consider the value of your purchase in terms of its impact upon your community. Vote with your wallet and continue to invest in your community.
Why shopping locally matters:
There are a number of other considerations as to why shopping locally matters. Here are some conclusions drawn based upon a number of different studies.
All info below is directly from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance:
- Start-Ups These studies find that as the economy has become dominated by fewer and larger companies, there’s been a sharp decline in the formation of new businesses.
- Inequality These studies find that the increasing size of corporations is driving inequality, while local and dispersed business ownership strengthens the middle class.
- Economic Returns These studies find that local businesses recirculate a greater share of every dollar in the local economy, as they create locally owned supply chains and invest in their employees.
- Jobs These studies show that locally owned businesses employ more people per unit of sales, and retain more employees during economic downturns, while big-box retailers decrease the number of retail jobs in a region.
- Wages and Benefits These studies show that locally owned businesses are linked to higher income growth and lower levels of poverty, while big-box retailers, particularly Walmart, depress wages and benefits for retail employees. Studies in this section also quantify the costs of these big companies’ low wages to state healthcare programs and other forms of public assistance.
- Social and Civic Well-Being These studies find that a community’s level of social capital, civic engagement, and well-being is positively related to the share of its economy held by local businesses, while the presence of mega-retailers like Walmart undermines social capital and civic participation.
- Public Subsidies These studies document the massive public subsidies that overwhelmingly favor big businesses and have financed their expansion, and how this subsidized development has failed to produce real economic benefits for communities.
- Taxes Building on the studies included in the previous category, “Public Subsidies,” these studies examine the differing impacts of locally owned businesses and big-box retailers on public finances. They find that large retailers systemically tilt the playing field in their favor by skirting their tax obligations, as well as that locally owned enterprises generate more tax revenue for cities, with less cost, than sprawling big-box shopping centers.
- Existing Businesses These studies demonstrate how big-box retailers have significant negative effects on the number and vitality of nearby local businesses, in that they both lead to a loss of existing businesses, and contrary to the claims big-box retailers themselves often make, do not serve as a catalyst for new growth.
- Consumers & Prices These studies find that chains are not always a bargain