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Locally-owned…so what?

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What follows is entirely self-serving, but does have the virtue of being true. According to a bevy of studies, shopping at locally-owned businesses is not just a feel-good thing, it’s an act of economic development. What these studies show, is that up to 300% more of your money stays in the local economy when you shop locally, even if you purchase the same product, at the same price.

How can that be? After all, local stores and national chains both have local people working in them don’t they? Sure, but it’s the people you don’t see who account for the economic benefit of shopping locally. All the behind-the-scenes folks at a local business, if there are any; the buyers, the warehouse workers, the office personnel, plus the local firms hired by that local business; the accountant, the ad agency, the architect – all those people get paid locally and spend their money locally. At a national business, those people and their paychecks are in some distant city, and that’s where a lot of your money is going, to some far-off place. And if you choose to shop on the web for something you can get down the street, well that’s even worse, all your money is exported out of town.

Now, that doesn’t mean you should put up with inferior products, service or prices to shop locally. Local businesses need to be just as good as the nationals. And sure, sometimes it ‘s difficult, if not impossible, to find a local store for what you want. But, when you have a choice, buying locally makes a huge difference. When you put your money where your economy is, it creates a virtuous circle that benefits the place you call home.

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