By Susan Odum Extension Educator Community & Economic Development University of Illinois Extension
Buy local can’t be a fad, a gimmick or a resolution that we undertake for a short time then discontinue, like so many New Year’s Resolutions. For buy local to have an impact on our local economy, it needs to become a way of life for each and every one of us. While the reasons to buy local are endless, the following are considered to be among the Top Ten:
Local businesses are the lifeblood of the community and, therefore, critical to our community’s survival.
Local businesses typically recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy; therefore, the more money you spend locally, the more those dollars stay in your community.
Local businesses typically employ individuals who live within the community and contribute to the growth of the local economy.
Buy Local contributes to the growth of the local tax base and provides needed revenues to support essential services, like public safety and infrastructure improvements, such as roads and streets.
Local businesses are typically the major supporters of local charities, athletic programs, fundraisers and school activities.
Local business owners typically attend our local churches, school programs and community events and their children and grandchildren attend our local schools.
Local business owners have a vested interest in the community’s future and are less likely to leave.
Local businesses traditionally offer superior customer service and take the time to build personal and lasting relationships with their customers.
When local businesses succeed, they stay and they thrive, which in turn attracts new businesses.
Buy local encourages and ensures local prosperity, by supporting existing jobs and creating an environment for new job growth.
While household budgets vary from one household to the next, common budget items include: transportation (loan payments, insurance, fuel and maintenance costs); utilities (phone, cable, gas, water, electric and internet); health (dental, medical, vision, prescriptions and insurance); household (mortgage payments, rent, insurance, furnishings, maintenance, taxes, groceries and household supplies); entertainment (dining, memberships, movies, music, hobbies and travel); and miscellaneous (dry cleaning, clothing, donations, childcare, toiletries, personal grooming, banking and investments). The money you spend to purchase even the smallest of items in your household budget can have a direct impact on your local economy. While, not every item in a typical household budget can be purchased locally; many items from the list above can be, including:
Buying gasoline at a local gas station
Buying groceries at a local supermarket
Buying large ticket items locally, such as autos and building materials
Contracting for insurance with local providers
Investing and financing with local financial institutions
Contracting for services locally, such as auto repair, haircuts, etc
Patronizing the local restaurants, pharmacies and specialty stores
Spending money can be compared to voting. When you spend your hard earned money on items that can be purchased locally, you are either voting FOR your community or AGAINST it. In today’s economy, so many things are beyond our control; however, as a group we have the power to strengthen our local economy through our spending. So please, VOTE WISELY and VOTE OFTEN in support of your community. While others sit back and discuss the need to stimulate the local economy, let’s JUST DO IT!
MARION CHAMBER OF COMMERCE 2305 West Main St PO Box 307 Marion, Illinois 62959