We are getting even closer to Christmas, and there are many holidays to be celebrated around this time of year! With the support from the community growing for local businesses, you have more options than ever before to choose to buy local this holiday (and year-round.) You may have heard about “Buying Local.” Maybe you have contemplated to yourself, “Why is it so important? Does it really make a difference?” The good news is that it is simple to start, and one person can make a difference. The impact is not simple, but rather transformational. It is huge.
1. More money stays here. Basic Economics: When $100 is spent in a locally owned business, 68 percent of it returns back to our local economy to benefit schools, roads, parks, police, fire, and more public services contributing to a better overall community. When that same $100 is spent at a non-local store… only 43 percent returns, the rest leaving our region.
2. Buying local creates local jobs. Local businesses account for more jobs in the U.S. overall. In fact, local businesses claim 65 percent of all net new jobs over the past 17 years and local businesses employ 77 million Americans. It’s no secret, more jobs equals more opportunity for residents of Winnebago County to love where they live, love what they do, and want to stay here to make it a better place for years to come. Not only do independent businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue, they also are the customers of local printers, accountants, wholesalers, farms, attorneys, etc., expanding opportunities for local entrepreneurs.
3. Improves real estate and wealth of residents. We all would like to see the value of our homes rise. Residential neighborhoods served by a successful independent business district gained, on average, 50 percent more in home values than their citywide markets. Eighty-nine percent of consumers agree that independent businesses contribute positively to local communities. The multiplier effect created by spending locally generates lasting impact on the prosperity of local organizations and residents.
4. It’s actually healthy. Independent, local community-serving businesses are people-sized. They typically consume less land, carry more locally-made products, locate closer to residents and create less traffic and air pollution, as well as have a smaller carbon footprint. Studies show that locally produced, minimally processed foods are better for your health too. Local produce has a shorter time from farm to table, retaining more nutrients for the health of you and your family.
5. It preserves character and culture. Have you ever stopped to think about all of the amazing character we have in our community? Think about three positively unique local businesses that you never want to disappear, and how different your lives would be without them. To retain our character, our personality, our culture, and to avoid becoming cookie-cutter towns, supporting the local businesses that make us unique from anywhere else on earth is 100 percent necessary. Having a unique county will make us tourism friendly, and local-friendly too. This starts from the inside. Local businesses can help create a positive environment for the people who live here. The people who live here and the leaders in our communities can help to maintain an enriching environment for entrepreneurs, small businesses and the arts, and visitors will flock.
We hope you will make the choice to Buy Local a little bit more during the largest grossing U.S. spending season. It doesn’t have to be radical, just take it one step further this year and think to yourself before heading out to shop… “Can I get this from a local business/restaurant/service?” It only takes one person to make the difference.
Challenge: While you’re shopping and eating local this holiday season, please remember to tag us in all of the fun! Just add #ShopSmallWBL or #BuyWBL to your photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Join us this Saturday for a Local Holiday Market at the Rockford University Burpee Center on the 2nd floor of the Regents Center, follow the candy cane path. Event runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Free parking and free admission.