Please Don’t ‘Buy Local’

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If you buy from local branches of absentee-owned Big Boxes and other chain stores or franchise businesses, you may be “buying local” but you’re lining the pockets of distant rich and super-rich investors who don’t pay their fair share of taxes; who are responsible for our boom-and-bust economy; and who most-likely never heard of Ukiah or Little River, and surely can’t spell Caspar or Boonville correctly.

Many “Buy Local First” campaigns are supported by Big Boxes, Chambers of Commerce and local newspapers who receive dues and advertising from Big Corporate Chains. Chain stores suck out our local dollars every night and send them electronically to Bentonville and points east. I’m sick and tired of hearing “but they are good corporate citizens. They give to local charities blah blah.” That’s bullshit. They only give when they can get their smily-faces with some poor kids in the local paper with an oversized check for a puny amount. That’s not “giving.” That’s advertising.

According to latest study commissioned by Michigan’s Local First, “when West Michigan consumers choose a locally-owned business over a non-local alternative, $73 of every $100 spent stays in the community. By contrast, only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business remains in the community.”

Don’t be suckered by false propaganda that steals a good idea and turns it into just another cynical, misleading corporate advertising campaign. Buying Local means buying from LOCALLY-OWNED businesses so most of your dollars stay in our communities. Know your store owners. Buy from “Mom and Pop” and other family and single proprietor businesses. Run the chain dinosaurs out of town on their slick hineys.

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Michael Shuman, author of Going Local and the Small-Mart Revolution, has written:

Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs.

The study shows some pretty dramatic differences between the main street and the mall. In restaurants, they found that “local businesses spend a higher portion of their income locally than national chains and also purchased many more local goods than a typical Olive Garden or Landry’s.”

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The study concluded that in West Michigan alone, if just 10% of consumer spending was diverted from the mall to the main street, it would result in an estimated $140 million in new economic activity, 1,600 new jobs, and $50 million in new wages…


Very good Dave. Sorry I can not open the air lock just now.

Dave – confused by your terminology: “If you buy from local branches of Big Boxes”. We ate at the local Branches’ newly opened in Ukiah and it had kind of a Big Box feel to it. Should I have enjoyed this feast? Have I sent my money out of town? Give this restaurant a nihil obstat or at least a pumatur, so that I may be free of moral and doctrinal error. Sed liberanos a malo.
Jim Houle

    Hi Jim,

    “Branches is owned by executive chef Munther Massarweh — of Novato’s 10-year-old Wildfox and San Francisco’s late Tin Pan Asian Bistro — and his long-term business partner and executive pastry chef Debbie Coenen.”


I heard twice that one of the hotel chains nearby are also owners. Is that true? The other question is are they buying local food from our farmers?

“Buy local” is much more than just buying from locally owned businesses. If a business is primarily selling products delivered by a large corporate distributor and manufactured by distant corporations, most of the cream is still being sent elsewhere to feather corporate pockets even if the business is locally owned. “Local” means local sources.

As an adjunct to this buy local campaign, please advertise locally, not with a corporation from outside Mendocino County.

Jay Johnson
Ukiah Valley TV

It is my understanding the Branches is partially owned by the Watsons who own the Hampton Inn next door to branches.

Buy locally has been very bastardized recently by the Press Democrat. They ran and editorial that buying local simple meant a store in your community big, little or corporate, just don’t buy on the internet.

Kinda sad.