Put your Money Where Your Mouth Lives

You may have heard the idiom, put your money where your mouth is. Well, more and more people are saying put your money where YOU live. Recently I posted a blog about shopping locally and supporting the community. As part of the blog, I mentioned that shopping locally is a way to boost your local economy. A visitor posed the question about why there would be any difference between the economic impact of shopping at big box (aka chain) stores versus locally owned stores. I thought that it was pretty evident that more dollars will be put back into the community if they are being made by local merchants who have ties to the very economy that supports them. However, I knew I’ve seen actual statistics before so I decided to do a little more research to find some more facts and figures. I was not surprised to see that the numbers did indeed show that money put toward local sellers does get put back into the local economy. What was somewhat surprising was the rather large percentage that actually went back to the regional community in comparison to chain stores!

In a nutshell, local businesses tend to pay their employees more, support other local businesses, and tend to spend their profits in their own communities. This may not sound like much, but it really adds up. In one research study I discovered that when a consumer shifts some of their spending from a chain to a local business the same amount of money spent has three times more economic impact when it’s spent locally. Check out this Civic Economics study for liveable city.

Do you really want to take an active stance on supporting your local community?
Visit the Big Box Tool Kit for fact sheets you can download and distribute, speaker recommendations and even a slide slow presentation you can request.

In researching more about this I came across all sorts of great related links.
The Big Box Toolkit was indeed one of the more comprehensive and informative resources.
On a more regional level Midwest Environmental Advocates also looks like a good resource.
Cities for Progress has a bit of an reformist angle, but nonetheless is worth a read.
Check out a blog of a Seattle Resident, called Local in Seattle who is trying to live at least three months by shopping primarily from only local merchants. Hmmm…perhaps it should be tried in Cleveland (I’m not sure I could give up Target though, as I’m a bit of a shop-a-holic there–any other store, no problem!)

When it all comes down to it, I think I’d love to walk along more tree-lined shops, tuck my head into some interesting local shops and businesses, and see a community that is somehow friendlier, more unique, and more like home.