By Marsha Bailey, WEV Founder and CEO
We Americans love our bargains and I’m no exception. I went to my first estate sale when I was 21 and bought an antique Norwegian seaman’s chest for $12. I still have it. You could say I was at the forefront of the reuse/recycle movement. (I’m missing the reduce gene.)
Most of us head out to the nearest big box store every weekend to snap up way more stuff than we need made in far off corners of the earth that we will never visit. I’m not going to admonish you for doing that because if I did I’d have to wear a disguise every time I go to Costco.
What I am asking you to consider is to make a 10% shift in your buying habits from big chains to locally-owned businesses. There are benefits to keeping your money local and costs you probably don’t calculate when you do all your shopping at national chains.
As Economist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman says, “Your spending is my income and my spending is your income.” When you spend your hard-earned dollars at a local establishment, the benefits to the local economy are much greater than when you spend money at a large chain store because a larger percentage of the money continues to circulate locally.
Since 2002, Civic Economics has done a number of seminal studies comparing the economic impacts of local businesses compared to non-local chains. Their studies have been replicated in different communities and across several business sectors. Their study in Andersonville, a neighborhood in Chicago, indicated that small, locally-owned retail, restaurant and service businesses returned $68 of every $100 in revenue to the local economy compared with only $43 returned by large chains. A study in San Francisco showed that for every $1 million in revenue, local businesses created 2.14 jobs vs. chains, which created 1.27 jobs.
Perhaps most encouraging is that supporting your local businesses doesn’t have to be an all or nothing commitment. By making the 10% shift, you can make an enormous difference in increased economic output and local jobs.
November 29 is Small Business Saturday. We hope you will support our local WEV clients and other local businesses this weekend. You can find a directory of our clients on our website.
And I hope you’ll support our local businesses not just on the fourth Saturday of November, but EVERY Saturday.