Prior to owning and operating a business of my own, I would have known little about the value of buying local, and how important the impact is on businesses, and the local economy. After over 15 years in business, I’ve been able to grasp some important concepts, but strongly believe educating our business clients, our customers, vendors, the community and everyone involved is highly important. If I would have known now what I didn’t know 15 years ago, this economy might be better off.
As many business owners are aware, any industry is tough out there, especially with the Internet-only companies. On any given day, we deal with our competitors cutting prices. We call it “cut throating”. While we offer competitive pricing on items we sell and customize, like t-shirts, some of our customers can get the same item online for as little as 50¢ each. As you’d expect, people will tend to go with the best pricing.
However, studies have shown that when purchasing local, twice the amount of money stays in the economy. If we could just educate these individuals, they might second think that purchase.
Another great example I see is our local farmers market. Talking with a farmers market volunteer, until recently, the “locals” weren’t supporting the market. Not only do farmers markets help the local economy by feeding money back into the neighborhood, but they increase access to fresh, healthy foods at low costs. They also serve as a public gathering place, bringing all different walks to of life together, in a comfortable setting for one day. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
The environment is also helped when people shop within their community. Staying in the community, instead of driving to the nearest city for your groceries or hardware supplies, means less congestion, less gas and less pollution. Local businesses tend to make more local purchases requiring less transportation too.
A recent done in Grand Rapids, Michigan, found local business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners. Another great reason to buy local. I can relate this to our business, as well. In fact, we believe in strongly supporting the organizations that support us. When we get an organization that asks for donations, and doesn’t do business with us, we simply do not donate; or if we do, we make them aware of the fact that the organization doesn’t do business with us and we would appreciate the opportunity to work together in the future.
Being a local businesses owner, we tend to invest in the community. Our owners are community volunteers to several non-profit organizations. They are leaders,board of directors and church members that are vital to the community. We even have an owner who is an active member of the local fire department. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.
It is a fact that small local businesses are the largest employers nationally. Most new jobs are created by local businesses. I believe small businesses are the key to bringing back the economy. In fact, by completion of this summer, we will have added two full-time positions, and one part-time position to my small business– great additions to our local economy.
Another finding out of the Michigan survey: small businesses tend to hire people with more expertise, so in essence customer service is often better. A great example of this, is our local hardware store, and how friendly and helpful they are. It’s always a pleasure knowing that people are there that know what they are doing, and that they actually care.
And if you are a business? What can do to increase your local customers? One idea would be to implement a “Buy Local Program” within your store. According to an Independent Business Survey in 2011, businesses with a “buy local” initiative, reported an average gain in revenue of 5.6 percent when compared to 2.1percent for everyone else. Check out the 3/50 project, http://www.the350project.net, and become a supporter. The 3/50 project that is geared toward saving the brick and mortars of our nation. So, by just implementing a program for purchasing local, your bottom line could increase. That in itself is enough for me.
So, I ask you, why buy local? The benefits are many, not only for business, non-profit organizations, the environment, but in essence every member of the local economy benefits from purchasing local. So the next time you think about getting a bag of groceries, a cup of coffee, going out to eat, or buying a t-shirt, think local. And remember, you’ll be helping out everyone.
Tammy Brzeczkowski is co-owner of Dynamic Designs Unlimited, LLC. Dynamic Designs is family owned and operated embroidery, screen printing, promotional and website design business located in the heart of Pulaski, Wisconsin. For more information visit the web: dynamicdesignspulaski.com
submitted by: Tammy Brzeczkowski, Owner Dynamic Designs
Found on www.pulaskinews.org
For more information on Dynamic Designs visit our website www.dynamicdesignspulaski.com