Investing Where We Live

There’s nothing easy about running a small business. You’re the owner, but you’re also the VP for marketing, the head of finance and the one who very often takes out the trash, cleans the windows and does everything that everyone else is too busy, too proud or too lazy to do. For you have no choice in the matter because it’s on you; it’s all you.

And for many of you, one is never enough. You either run two or three businesses at the same time or have become what can only be called a repeat offender. A serial business owner.  A statistic of recidivism.

And we are all so grateful for you. You shop owners bring color and character to our towns. You artisans capture the special spirit of our place. You tradesmen know where we leave the key on the back porch so that you can repair our homes while we’re off at work—thanks for turning off the coffeepots we accidentally leave on.

So here’s to you self-reliant, independent and locally owned business folk. And for all of us, here is our annual reminder why buying local means so much.

Buying local supports you and your family. When you buy from a locally owned business, more of your buying dollar stays in the community and is used to make purchases from other local businesses, which helps strengthen the economic base of your hometown.

You’re supporting local nonprofits. Studies show that small business owners give an average of 250 percent more dollars in donations to local nonprofits than do large businesses.

Buying local keeps your community unique. Where we shop, where we eat and have fun—all of it makes a community home. One-of-a-kind local businesses give a distinctive character to a place, and add to quality of life; they also bring in more tourist dollars.

Reduce your environmental impact. Locally owned businesses make more local purchases, which means less wasted fossil fuel for deliveries from afar. You save money too, whenever you can walk instead of driving to buy.

Local business creates more good jobs. Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and the jobs they offer create stronger links to our communities. After all, where would you rather see a son or daughter work: at a local store where they might get valuable personal employer referrals, or at an impersonal national chain store checkout counter?

When you buy local, you invest in community. Local businesses are owned by your neighbors, people who live in your town, who are less likely to leave, and who — like you — are more invested in the community’s future.

You get better service locally. Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they sell, and take more time to get to know customers.

Buying local puts your taxes to good use. Local businesses, particularly those in town centers, require little public infrastructure investment, as compared to nationally owned chains built at the edge of town, with taxpayer money for improved roads, water and sewer service.

Buying local encourages local prosperity. 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 hometown character.