There has been a large focus in recent years to “Buy Local”. Being a small business owner I am obviously a little partial to the idea, but there are many other reasons it makes sense for everyone. These are my favorite…
- Community Engagement – How many of you know your neighbors? What about the people seven houses down? When was the last time you went to a charity dinner for someone in your town. Who is your local Representative – and what voting district are you in? These are all questions we should all be able to answer – but often can’t. When you shop & buy local you have the opportunity to meet all kinds of interesting people. You get a chance to engage with those who surround you, may share some of the same concerns – or enlighten you on some otherwise unknown issues. You might me an individual who teaches a class you could benefit from, or a doctor who makes house calls for sick children. Heck you might meet your very own kindred spirit whom you will wonder someday what you did without them.
- Environmentally Friendly – When you head to the local big box store or order an item online – generally you are unsure of where (or how) it is manufactured and it has to get to you somehow. that means using fossil fuels for packing and shipping, perhaps unsustainable harvested materials, poisonous paints or plastics – the negative components go on and on. On the other hand, if you buy local, you can ask about material acquisition, manufacturing methods and can tote it home in a locally acquired reusable bag!
- Better Products & Customer Service – If you are cleaning your house before bed are you going to do as good of as you would if you were hosting a dinner party? I wouldn’t. The point here is if I make a bookshelf and sell it – I don;t want to run into the purchaser at the grocery store and hear about what a pieces of crap it was. I want the new owner to love it, to feel like they have made a good investment, and tell others about it. Same goes with your local farmer, print shop owner or computer repair guru. They care, they want you to be happy and if you are not satisfied – they will do everything (most of the time) they can to make it so.
- Quick & Competent Repairs – Again, you know who they are! They created this item – who better to call with a malfunction? No waiting for hours on the phone for a 12 year old in a foreign country to ask you if you plugged in the machine. Buy Local = Less Stress.
- Simulate Creativity – How many times have you seen a DIY project on-line and thought you could improve it? Have you ever had a child bring home a painting and though, “Wow.” What about your daughter’s best freind who always is braiding her teammates hair before a sporting event? These are all skills; marketable, functional and a source of pride. People are cool creatures, capable of all kinds of cool things. If there was an opportunity to earn a living buy becoming really good at what you enjoy – maybe more people would enjoy life a bit more.
- Job Creation & Economic Stimulation – So here is what most people focus on – and for good reason. So Sammy the tailor and Linda the cobbler open a fancy dress shop, before too long they need another source for lace and it just so happens that Jennifer’s great grandmother taught her to make it – and it’s the best lace ever! Then every teenage girl needs a prom dress and they all go to the shop – too many orders! There is your need for a new person to take the measurements and trace patters. Along with that they will need a register clerk, someone to answer the phones and make appointments. All of a sudden there are people waiting there – ALL THE TIME. Well your sister has always wanted to open a coffee shop, but no one was ever downtown. All of a sudden she has a chance to cater to all these people, and her best friend always wanted to open a book store – they go into business together. Before you know it your suffering town with no jobs, where no kid has rode
a bike on main street for 10 years looks like your very own Stars Hollow.
(If you don’t get that reference – I need you to stop what you’re doing watch Gilmore girls from the begging then go buy a pastry from the nearest local bakery.)
- Innovation & Quality Assurance – “Necessity is the Mother of invention” – Plato. Seriously, Plato said this – like a really long time ago. I’m quite sure it holds true today. Imagine – you’re sitting at your towns new bookshop/cafe, talking with your midwife about how it would be great to have a a new style birthing tub that can be programmed to provide aroma therapy and soothing music. She always thought this would be wonderful. All of a sudden, Tom, the local electrician, who happens to be sitting next to you, chimes in that it’s a simple matter of such and such (obviously I don’t know the details.) All of a sudden – the midwife is thrilled – people throughout your county are choosing to have their babies in your town, other mid-wives are requesting these state of the art tubs, families are booking rooms in the local inn’s when their loved ones are birthing. Tired dads are buying coffee, anxious aunts are ordering dresses for newborns and Buck, a local 10-year-old is giving historical guides to visitors for $3 then hiring local landscapers to clean up the trails for his customers. All of that because of a conversation over coffee.
We are talking the potential for huge, quality of life improvements because a few people decided to spend $1.50 on a used book instead of getting for a penny on amazon.
A few wise men years and years ago came up with a program – for life – that has changed humanity as we know it. I would like to borrow a piece of their writing that I think can be applied to this movement as well….
A.A. Promises – The Big Book
Can I tell you how all you’re wildest dreams will come true if you shop local? Nope. Can I say with some certainty that you will feel good about it? Yup. So give it a try, encourage others to try it. Share this with your friends and family – lets start a revolution together.