How to support your local economy
In everything you do and everywhere you go, look around you. All around, people are living, working, and playing in this community you call your home. Together, we have the power to make your own community stronger. It’s easier than you might think. With a few simple changes in how you make your purchase decisions you can help contribute to a stronger local economy.
You can make a Difference
Think before you buy.
With the rise of online and app-based shopping and even food delivery, it’s tempting to pick up your device and place your order in just a few clicks. The problem with this practice is that so few people within the local economy benefit from these kinds of purchasing activities. When you shop online and have purchases delivered, your order is likely fulfilled in another part of the country and shipped to your home, making the delivery person one of the few local beneficiaries of your transaction. When you order food in a national food delivery app, a local restaurant makes a sale – but the app developer’s pricing structure takes a cut of the local restaurant’s profits.
Here’s what you can do instead.
When you must buy online, try to shop stores that have a local presence and choose store pick-up. This way, employees who live and work right here in your community are helping fulfill your order. Even when you make purchases this way from a big box store, the local bottom-line impact is still greater because more of the purchase profits benefit the local store.
Similarly, when you order food to go, rather than using a food delivery app, call up the local restaurant to see if they offer delivery directly. This is recommended even if it is a national chain restaurant. This way, more of the profits are kept locally.
Build local shopping into your routine.
The convenience of online shopping can’t be denied. After all, what could be easier than waiting for a delivery to show up at your door? However, looking for opportunities within your existing routine to shop locally can be incredibly easy. You may pass by hundreds of local businesses on your way to and from work, making a stop-off simple and quick. Most local businesses will be thrilled to help you place an order by phone or website and allow you to pick up your purchases.
Speaking of picking up purchases… making online purchases for store pick-up is a much more secure way to purchase online. When packages are dropped at your front door, they’re subject to being stolen by so-called porch pirates any time of the year, but especially through the holiday season when these criminals are on the hunt for valuable goods. Shopping locally and picking purchases up at the store helps you avoid this problem, in addition to being better for the local economy.
Shop the old-fashioned way: in person.
As much as online shopping has become a habit for many of us, there’s just something comforting about walking into a store, especially a locally owned shop, and interacting with the smiling faces of people who are eager to help you find that just-right item. This provides the ultimate benefit to the local economy, helping to keep more of the dollar transactions right here where you live and work.
Buy locally made.
To go one-step further, look for goods that were produced close to home – whether locally grown produce or handmade and manufactured goods. Buying these kinds of items, no matter where you buy them, goes a long way toward boosting the local economy. You’re likely to find examples in your corner grocery store, such as produce grown in state. You can also shop local farmer’s markets for fresh finds.
Why shopping local matters
When you choose to shop locally, you’re doing your part in helping to strengthen the community around you. When more money is retained in your community, the people within it are better able to meet their own needs. For example, a local bike shop experiences an increase in sales and can hire more employees. Those jobs give more people more ways to pay the bills and stay in the community, which means the community grows and thrives. The ripple effects are endless – and so is your power to make a difference.