Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Why Support Independent, Locally Owned Businesses?


TOP TEN REASONS TO NOT ONLY SHOP LOCALLY, BUT SHOP LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESSES

  1. KEEP DOLLARS IN UKIAH’S ECONOMY
    For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays in the local economy, creating jobs and expanding the city’s tax base. For every $100 spent at a national chain or franchise store, only $14 remains in the community.
  2. EMBRACE WHAT MAKES UKIAH UNIQUE
    Ukiah is a village. Where we shop, where we eat and hang out—all of it makes our village home. Chain and franchise stores are growing more aggressive and threatening to change the unique character of our town. One-of-a-kind, locally owned, independent businesses are an integral part of what makes Ukiah a great place to live.
  3. FOSTER LOCAL JOB CREATION
    Studies show that locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than national chains.
  4. HELP THE ENVIRONMENT
    Local business owners tend to set up shop downtown and in walkable neighborhood business districts, rather than developing on the city’s fringe or in suburban strip malls accessible only by automobile. Having a diverse array of businesses within walking or biking distance reduces the amount of driving Ukiah and Mendocino County residents must do to shop for goods and services. It also helps to conserve land, limit sprawl and lessen traffic and air pollution.
  5. NURTURE COMMUNITY
    Independent businesses are owned by people who live in this community and are committed to investing in our future. Studies have found that locally owned businesses contribute more than twice as much of their revenue to charitable causes as corporate chains do. And advocates of local causes find that local business owners are generally much more accessible than executives of large corporations based in other states.
  6. CONSERVE YOUR TAX DOLLARS
    Small neighborhood and downtown businesses require less public infrastructure and make more efficient use of city services compared to sprawling big-box stores and shopping centers, which are far more costly in terms of road work and police services, according to studies.
  7. HAVE MORE CHOICES
    A marketplace of many small businesses helps to ensure more innovation and competition, and lower prices over the long term. Independent businesses, choosing products based on what their local customers need and desire, not a national sales plan, guarantees a more diverse range of product and service choices.
  8. BENEFIT FROM LOCAL OWNERS’ EXPERTISE
    Local business owners and employees often possess a level of expertise and a passion for the products they sell that is unmatched by employees and managers of national chains. They also tend to have a greater interest in getting to know their customers—who are, after all, also their neighbors. Simply put, local owners and employees take a special pride in their trade.
  9. PRESERVE ENTREPRENEURSHIP
    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. Plus, the success of locally owned, independent businesses provides real-life inspiration to our young people, proving that they can stay in town and prosper on their own terms.
  10. INSURE UKIAH AND MENDOCINO COUNTY STANDS OUT FROM THE CROWD
    In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character are more likely to attract entrepreneurs and new investment. Ukiahians and Mendonesians place a high value on individuality and consider our homegrown enterprises a source of pride. They are also an attraction to visitors.

Buying local from locally-owned and operated independent businesses, and not from big box stores, chains, and franchises, keeps more of our money circulating in our community. As stated by the motto of Mondragón cooperatives, “Savings or Suitcases,” we can either invest in our own community or watch our money leave our community to work elsewhere and enrich others.

Studies supporting the above are available on the Hometown Advantage web site.

(Another) Ten good reasons to shop at locally owned businesses:

  1. Significantly more money re-circulates in your community when you buy from locally owned, rather than nationally owned, businesses: More money stays in the community because locally owned businesses purchase from other local businesses, service providers, and farms. Purchasing locally helps grow other businesses as well as your community’s tax base.
  2. Local businesses provide most new jobs: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and in most communities provide the most new jobs to residents.
  3. One-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of a community’s distinctive character: The unique character of any town or region is what people love about it, and what tourists come to visit. Richard Moe, president of the National Historic Preservation Trust, says, “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.”
  4. Local business owners invest in community: People who own local businesses live in the community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
  5. Customer service is better: Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise for better customer service.
  6. Competition and diversity lead to more choices: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term. 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.
  7. Local businesses have less environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases, requiring less transportation, and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution.
  8. Local businesses’ public benefits far outweigh their public costs: Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
  9. Local businesses encourages investment in the community: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest in and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.
  10. Local businesses give more support to nonprofits: Nonprofit organizations receive an average 350 percent greater support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses.
    ~
    See also The Local Multiplier Effect

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