Buy Local, A Growing Trend

Driven by ripple effects from the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, consumers are recognizing the widespread and growing impact their shopping choices have on themselves and the things they value. With supply chain issues around the globe, buying from domestic companies improves the local and national economy, helps your neighbors, invigorates the community, and is good for both the consumer and the environment.   

Purchasing locally produced products gained momentum during the pandemic. In fact, 75% of consumers shopped at local suppliers rather than low-priced conglomerates. This change in purchasing patterns provides many benefits.  

Provide Economic Support

Investing your money where your heart lies directly supports family, friends, and neighbors. In many cases, buyers know the owner, and their support helps the business survive. Investing in local items literally puts money in your neighbors’ -- and your own -- pockets. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $67 recirculates and remains in the local economy. Only $14 remains in the community when it’s spent at a national chain. The local spending enables the employees to feed their families, pay their bills, and put a roof over their heads.

Support the National Economy

Small businesses are the engines that fuel national growth in an increasingly competitive world marketplace. Since the turn of the millennium, the outsourcing movement picked up momentum. Approximately 300,000 US jobs are shipped abroad every year. 

Larger companies are 66% more likely to outsource than small businesses. As a result since the turn of the millennium, independent businesses created about two-thirds of America’s private-sector jobs and account for half of its private sector positions. Every $10 million of spending at a local business creates 57 jobs whereas the same spending at Amazon creates only 14 new positions.

Improve Your Tax Base

As noted, money spent at a local business remains in the community. These businesses are the backbone of the local tax base, and they fund public services, which translates into better schools, transportation, and emergency response services for you and your family. Money paid to conglomerates goes out of the community and often, they find loopholes, so they pay little to no taxes.

Be a Good Neighbor

Humans have an inherent need to feel like they are part of something greater than themselves. Psychologists rank the need to belong on par with the need for love. Belonging centers on one’s physical, emotional, and psychological safety and creates the feeling of being welcomed, accepted, and safe with those around you. Buying domestic goods strengthens such bonds. Individuals feel a sense of community and that their community is an important part of their country.

Supply Chain Disruptions

The further a product travels from its source to the consumer, the longer the supply chain and the more potential for problems to arise. The pandemic illustrated the limitations of buying from international businesses. Nowadays, raw materials and intermediate goods flow in a complex, highly choreographed dance: collected in one place, assembled in another location, and ultimately exported to consumers spread around the globe. When the pandemic hit, chaos ensued. Social distancing rules and other government mandates coupled with sudden shifts in supply and demand meant that 85% of global supply chains reduced operations while 6% shut down altogether, according to McKinsey & Company.

Indeed, the impact reverberated throughout the world. The daily hum of products moving down the assembly line, onto transportation vehicles, to warehouses, and eventually to store shelves and into consumers’ homes and businesses ground to a halt. In fact, 69% of manufacturers experienced delays in their supply chain, according to RSM.

The complex mechanisms used to ship goods overseas to the US became gummed up, delays occurred, prices rose, and many items were unavailable. Quickly and often erratically, store shelves became bare, and consumers and businesses had trouble finding needed items, such as food and supplies. Local producers were not impacted by issues, such as cargo ships being unable to dock and unload, and therefore, were in a better position to deliver their merchandise and satisfy their customers’ needs.

Gain Diversity in Product Choices

Large suppliers focus on bulk and mass production. In essence, the clothing, consumer goods, homeware, and food they supply are essentially the same. Investing in local wares creates product diversity. One-of-a-kind businesses provide a distinct character in markets, often strewn with bland look-alikes.

Additionally, local businesses often tailor their products and services to the community. Whereas chain stores shelves reflect national demands, a local sporting goods store concentrates on community interests, offering apparel in local school colors, for example.

Improve Your Health  

Buying local is good for one’s health. The benefits of naturally produced food are clear compared to items packed with preservatives.  For instance, honey grown next door does not contain allergens.

In addition, the food at the farmers’ market comes directly from a neighbor and is harvested usually within the week.  Store-bought food is usually packed with preservatives, so it can make its journey. Sometimes, they are shipped from other continents, spend time in inclement weather, and take weeks or months before delivery, losing their freshness and increasing their potential for spoilage and disease.

Support Sustainability

Local items travel less than foreign-produced goods, which translates to a less adverse impact on the environment. Buying from small businesses that source local products also reduces the environmental impact that national chains create with the long-haul transportation of their goods. The former items move 26% fewer miles and therefore emit less carbon dioxide and pollution into the environment than the latter. The eco-savings do not stop there. Consumers who walk to local town centers reduce car and bus use, reducing their carbon footprint.

Nowadays, consumers have a multitude of choices when buying products. The many benefits of buying local are becoming more apparent, leading to a rise in those purchases, benefitting their own community as well as the country as a whole.