Keepin’ it local

29 Jul

Thanks to Sarah Keller of Knot Another Hat, for pointing me to The 3/50 Project. This is yet another way to simply say, “Buy local.” But it’s a clever branding effort, led by a retailing consultant, with numbers to buttress the power of spending with local merchants.

The project is more robust than this reductionist version, but it’s enough to think that if you picked three businesses that really matter to you, and that if half the employed population dropped $50 a month at one or all three of them, the combined economic boost each month would come to $42.6 billion. Two more numbers to keep in mind. For every $100 spent with a local independent store, $68 stays local and works to support local families and other local businesses and local government. Spend that $100 at a chain store, and $43 stays local. And shop online, nothing stays local (unless you’re buying something made locally, which begs the question of why you couldn’t find it and buy it locally in the first place).

I’m all about local. Yes, I shop in chain stores, including Wal-Mart, but things we do of necessity (i.e. can’t find that item anywhere else) don’t mean we dislike or wouldn’t prefer to shop at a locally owned store. So, before you default to what you may perceive to be the “lowest prices always,” think about who else might have it, and how you could help your own business and job situation by aiming $$ in that direction.

Example? WM has a hardware department of sorts. But who doesn’t love Hood River Supply, which has everything you could need, at very affordable prices. OK, maybe you could get something a bit cheaper at a big box east or west, but factor in the time and cost of gas, and is it really worth it?

Cinda Baxter, who started the 3/50 Project, also runs the retailer-to-retailer web site, retailspeaks. Check it out to network with people in the same boat.

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