What does it mean to buy local and does it really matter?
I’ve been able to answer these questions through my involvement with Local First Arizona, a nonprofit organization that celebrates independent, locally owned businesses. As a Local First board member, I see first-hand the work this organization does to support, promote and advocate for a strong local business community.
Building strong communities matters because it strengthens where you live, where you work and where your kids go to school. It connects you to a sense of place. Buying local really benefits us all because local businesses contribute to a sustainable economy for Arizona and build vibrant communities we’re proud to call home.
Local First has identified the top 10 reasons to spend your money with Arizona’s local businesses. I couldn’t agree more.
- Keep Money in the Local Economy Studies have shown that up to four times more money stays in the local economy when those dollars are spent with local businesses than with national chains.
- Keep Money in Your Wallet There is a myth out there that local businesses are more expensive than national chains and online mega retailers. Often this simply isn’t true. Do the research before making a purchase to make sure you’re getting the best value.
- Foster Community Pride in a Unique Sense of Place Local businesses contribute to a unique sense of place in a community that fosters community pride, and when people are proud of their hometown, they tend to care more, to volunteer more and to give more. They even cheer a little louder when the home team wins!
- Support the Community Through Local Businesses Local businesses regularly give a higher percentage of their revenue back to the community than big box stores. When you buy local, you’re helping local businesses have more resources to give back to your community.
- Create Jobs in your Community When you support local businesses, you’re creating demand for high quality and diverse jobs across the state. Local businesses in turn hire fellow local businesses in the community for products and services that they need to fulfill your orders and contracts. This “multiplier effect” creates and supports jobs throughout the state.
- Advance Environmental Sustainability Local businesses are rooted in the communities they serve, so they tend to be more conscious about their own impact on the environment.
- Diversify the Economy Communities with a large amount of diverse local businesses will offer more competition than communities with only a few large national chains. This kind of competition will keep prices low and force businesses to think in the best interest of consumers.
- Support Healthy Communities Studies have shown people who live in communities where small, locally owned businesses are the norm are healthier than those who live in places where large corporations predominate.
- Enjoy Premier Customer Service Local businesses depend on customer loyalty, and will do all that they can to retain you as a customer who will continue to frequent their business. This means a better customer experience when you buy local.
- Create Prosperity for All When local businesses are thriving, everyone wins. The economy is more diversified to prevent against economic downturns, there are more jobs to employ individuals across the state and there is more opportunity for economic growth.
I make it a habit to buy local products, and I’m always looking for new spots. This summer, challenge yourself to visit a local coffee joint, restaurant or clothing store. You can use Local First’s on-line directory to get started.
Arizona will thank you!
Bobbie Fox is Associate General Counsel for CopperPoint Insurance Companies, a leading provider of workers compensation insurance and property and casualty insurance products. She serves as Chair for the Local First Arizona Board of Directors.