Friday, September 10, 2010

Shop Locally

What is the value of shopping locally? Is it saving money? Is it saving time? Is it supporting your community? Is it helping to rebuild a stronger economy? The answer to these questions is... yes. This is by no stretch of the imagination is an original thought or sentiment, but it is true. I think most people would say that you will spend more at local shops then you would at a big box retailer or mall. And on certain items the price of an item will be lower but was the actual cost lower? First we have to ask where are most big box stores located? The answer is on highways. So you are going to spend time driving to get to a big box store, and the most common vehicle driven is the family SUV or Minivan and what is the MPG on these vehicles? And what is the price of a gallon of gas? In the end you really save pennies on the dollar, but pennies over time make dollars, right? That is true, until you figure what is your time worth. Being a retail store owner I spend most of my time as you imagine inside the four wall of my store, so my time is limited and very valuable. My wife and partner in my business has it even harder. She takes care of our two daughters, the house, the store, and me. I have not figured out if or when she sleeps, so I would say her time is even more valuable. I do not think we are the exception to the rule, I think most of the people we know live lives similar to ours. So when a resource is in short supply and there is a high demand the cost is going to soar. I am not an economist, but I am pretty sure that is how it works. There is no question that shopping locally saves time and as we just pointed out saves money, but how about those last two questions? Supporting your community means supporting the businesses that support the community. If you have kids of your own or nieces or nephews and they are involved in sports look around and you will see the names of the local merchants who sponsor these teams, or how about your local charities, who donated the items up for auction? Support is a two way street if you depend on local merchants for support than they should be able to depend on you. I am not saying that you should exclusively shop at local merchants, but we would love it if you did, all you would have to do is spend $50 of your monthly budget in local independently owned non chain stores. If half of the employed population did this it would bring $42.6 billion dollars into local communities (Statistic provided by 3/50Project) The American small business is the cornerstone of the economy. Small business provides more than half the jobs in the US. Shopping locally will bring more jobs locally and keep tax dollars locally. All of these things will lead to stronger communities and a stronger economy.

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