What Does Buying Locally Mean These Days? – By John Young

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What Does Buying Locally Mean These Days? – By John Young
It might be hard to imagine, but at one time in the early 1900s, our small towns were booming retail centers! At one time in Grey Eagle you could attend a movie, could buy a new car, buy food from a number of grocery stores, buy major appliances from one of the hardware stores, and then visit one of the many gas stations before your trip back home.
One trip down the main street of any area town shows that those days are long gone. Small town businesses are struggling as the evolution of our buying habits and retail sales offerings move money from the local community to a more regional or national economy.
Many factors led to the demise of our small town businesses. Two that would be the largest contributors to our move to regional purchasing is the improvement of roadways and the reliability of motor vehicles.
Even as late as the early 1970s, trips of fifteen to twenty miles were still considered a long trip in Central Minnesota. Rough roads and older, unreliable vehicles made trips slower and often not worth the extra effort over buying something from the local store. Those barriers are no longer factors and we have moved our Buying Locally though to mean buying anywhere within 30 minutes of home.
Having some basic businesses in our small towns is very attractive and needed for the quality of life for residents in those communities. People looking to move into our area look at things like the ability to purchase some items locally as added value to living in our communities.
Here is a great list of reasons to support your local small town businesses from the Sustainable Connections website:
Buying local is supporting
yourself also
Several studies have shown that when you buy from an independent, locally-owned business, rather than a nationally-owned businesses, significantly more of your money is used to make purchases from other local businesses, service providers, and farms — continuing to strengthen the economic base of the community.
Supporting community groups
Non-profit organizations receive on average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.
Helps keep our communities unique
Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of the distinctive character of this place. Our tourism businesses also benefit.
“When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” – Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust
You can get better service
Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.
Invest in long term community growth
Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
Encourage local prosperity
and growth
A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
John Young is the founder of Small Town Business Do It Yourself (DIY). You can send questions on social media and website design to John at [email protected]