Why Shop Local First?
Why Shop McCloud First?
All over the country, programs designed to highlight the power and importance of locally-owned businesses are being developed. The recent economic downturn has proved to be a powerful catalyst for economic awareness and positive transition. Communities everywhere are seeking to ensure their stability and long-term health by launching programs that focus on local resources to build local economies from the ground up, and McCloud is no exception.
The McCloud Local First Network is one of over 75 chapters of the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), a national organization that believes in the power of local businesses to transform communities for the better by working cooperatively toward a shared vision.We envision McCloud as a community of renewed growth and prosperity, where local businesses and community members are actively engaged in building a self-reliant future for McCloud, and we couldn’t be more pleased to bring this positive economic vitality to McCloud, along with your support!
A number of compelling reports have been conducted in recent years that demonstrate the impacts of local purchasing as opposed to visiting nationally-owned chains. One report conducted by Civic Economics in 2002 in Austin, Texas assessed the economic impact of local merchants relative to a chain merchant carrying comparable lines of goods (complete report found at http://www.liveablecity.org/lcfullreport.pdf ) One of the report’s key findings gives us particular cause to believe local first movements can indeed affect communities’ economic health, that being:
“Modest changes in consumer spending habits can generate substantial local economic impact”. The report goes on to cite that a simple shift of 10% of a family’s budget from chain stores to locally owned merchants would cause an economic impact of $10 million dollars for the Austin area. This is in large part because locally-owned businesses spend more of their dollars locally (not just on employee salaries, but administrative expenses and profits). This collective shift in buying habits translates into greater local economic vitality over the long-haul.
Another report released in October 2004 by Civic Economics called the “Andersonville Study of Retail Economics” (full report available at http://www.andersonvillestudy.com/html/reports.html ) was designed to evaluate the economic role played by the independent businesses of the Andersonville district on Chicago's North Side. The Andersonville report found that: Every $100 spent with a local firm leaves $68 in the Chicago economy; $100 spent at a chain store leaves $43 in Chicago. See the graph below from the report for a visual representation.
Yet another national survey conducted by Independent Business Forum in 2008 (full report found at http://www.newrules.org/sites/newrules.org/files/images/ibf_survey_2007.pdf ) found that independent retailers in cities with active "Buy Local" campaigns reported much larger increases in 2007 holiday sales on average than those in cities without such campaigns. The survey, which included retailers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., found that, even in a difficult economic climate, many independent businesses are holding their own and even seeing sales gains by emphasizing their local ownership and community roots. Independent retailers in these cities reported an average gain in sales of about 2% over the 2006 holiday season, while those in cities without "Buy Local" campaigns saw an increase of less than 0.5%. For more information about Why Buy Local, see the BALLE website at http://www.livingeconomies.org/
When you “Think Local First” when choosing how to spend your dollars, you affect the community in a variety of ways that may not seem apparent on the surface. Not all goods and service purchases can be made locally for a variety of reasons. But it is true indeed that we all exercise a degree of power in our purchasing habits, and that choosing to stay local when we can benefits our community by:
Preserving Local Character and Prosperity - In an increasingly homogenized world, preserving our one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character give us an economic advantage by ensuring McCloud as a desired destination.
Encouraging 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. By supporting small independent businesses now, we can pave the way for others to be successful here
Supporting Local Jobs - Local businesses employ local residents and offer greater loyalty to their employees, by being invested in and connected to the place we call home, and not to a corporate whim.
Keeping More 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. Avoiding an occasional drive to Redding does indeed help our local businesses strive.
Supporting Community Groups - Studies show non-profit organizations and service groups receive an average of 350% more support from smaller business owners than from national businesses. This positively affects the efforts of the entire community and our service groups’ long-term viability.
Enjoying Personalized Service - Local businesses have a vested interest in knowing how to serve their customers and providing you with superior, personalized service. Taking advantage of that service serves us all and increases our quality of life.
Honoring the Value Beyond the Economic Value - When we value what our local businesses ultimately provide to our community (an active downtown area, stores with local character, and businesses that know their shoppers by name, a regular influx of visitors) we are celebrating what makes our town a unique and treasured place, a place where we love to live and work, and others love to visit.