The Importance of Shopping Locally
We’ve all been faced with the decisions concerning where specifically we’re going to purchase products and services. Hopefully, we’ve taken into consideration our local communities and have based those decisions on the fact that we’d like to keep our dollars in our local economy. But why is local spending such an important matter? After all, it’s just as easy to spend that money somewhere else, right? Maybe in places where even more products and services are offered? A study by the University of Nebraska—Lincoln shows us why we need to keep it local.
Shopping locally keeps dollars in the community. There is a strong multiplier effect within the community for every dollar that someone spends locally, whether it’s for retail goods or services. For example, a dollar spent in a retail store could by used by the store owner to pay rent to a landlord, who then might use that dollar to buy gas. The gas station owner may use the dollar to buy something at the local hardware store, and the hardware store owner may use the dollar to buy something at the pharmacy, and so forth. It’s when the dollar is taken outside the county that the multiplier effect dissolves. This doesn’t mean that we need to buy everything locally. After all, as shopping is a social event at times, “shopping trips” can be vitally important to a community’s retail health in bringing in shoppers from outside the community.
Local businesses are usually owned by fellow community members, and the trust of local merchants is a factor. Local owners also contribute to the community in tangible and intangible ways. For instance, they impact the tax base, provide resources for improving the community, and they give back to the community through the support of local activities.
Local retailers know their loyal customers. Personal service and relationships are very important factors to consumers, and, after all, quality customer service is what we like best about shopping locally, right? We like that hometown feeling and friendly atmosphere, and we’ll always know who we’re doing business with.
Local retailers are uniquely able to provide service to their local customers. When it comes to product knowledge, guarantees, assembly, care and maintenance, it’s the local businesses that deliver. Knowing what the customer needs, and being able to explain how to use those products to the customer are unique services provided by local businesses.
A healthy retail sector is attractive to new industry. Without it, we don’t stand much of a chance of attracting new industry. Empty store fronts are a sign of a weak retail sector, and a “turn off” for economic growth.
A healthy retail sector saves consumers’ economic resources by providing local access to goods and services. When consumers don’t spend money on fuel to drive to distant shopping destinations, more money is available to spend locally.
Finally, Towns with healthy retail sectors tend to attract other service sectors. Other services can add to the economic vitality of a community as well.
So, the next time you think about hitting the road to do some shopping somewhere else, think about the benefits Madison and Morgan County will reap if you keep your dollars local, and know that it’ll help our communities to maintain their distinctive appeal.
Information gathered from the Nebraska Cooperative Extension HE Form 457 Participant Manual through the University of Nebraska—Lincoln.
Andy Williams – CVB Project Coordinator