Guest Contributor: Dana Eness – Executive Director of The Urban Conservancy
You can’t turn around these days without hearing phrases like “keep it local,” “stay local,” or “shop local”; and that’s a good thing for local businesses of all kinds. Independent business alliances started emerging about a decade ago throughout the US and other countries to bring attention to the fact that patronizing independently owned businesses first and whenever possible results in greater wealth retention and wealth generation for the businesses’ home community. Since then, they’ve expanded rapidly.
Stay Local!, The Urban Conservancy’s flagship initiative, is the independent business alliance serving Southeast Louisiana since 2003. Stay Local! focuses on the critical role local business
ownership plays in neighbor-hood revitalization, economic equity, and environmental sustainability. And with the holidays just coming to a close, it’s important to remember that the “Stay Local!” mission is relevant and alive year-round.
Stay Local!’s Top Ten Reasons to Shop Local, located below, gives you the points you need to join the debate. Include them on your website and in your next company newsletter. If you have a storefront, post them by your cash register to remind your patrons of why they should continue to shop locally. And use them as talking points with the media or elected officials when making
the case for a business climate favorable to local ownership in your community.
Best wishes for a safe, prosperous, and very local 2012 from your colleagues at The Urban Conservancy!
Top Ten Reasons To Shop Local
1. Protect Local Character And Prosperity
Louisiana is unlike any other state in the world. By choosing to support locally owned businesses, you help maintain Louisiana’s diversity and distinctive flavor.
2. Community Well-Being
Locally owned businesses build strong neighborhoods by sustaining communities, linking neighbors, and by contributing more to local causes.
3. Local Decision Making
Local ownership means that important decisions
are made locally by people who live in the community
and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
4. Keeping Dollars In The Local Economy
Your dollars spent in locally-owned businesses have three times the impact on your community as dollars spent at national chains. When shopping locally, you simultaneously create jobs, fund more city services through sales tax, invest in neighborhood improvement and promote community development.
5. Job And Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
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.
7. Public Benefits And Costs
Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.
8. Environmental Sustainability
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers—which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
10. Product Diversity
A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.