I’ll be honest. I’m a bargain shopper. I like a deal as well as anyone – maybe more than some. So the idea about shopping local seems a little extravagant at first glance if you can buy an identical product online for a few cents, or even a couple dollars, less. I feel at this point we’re all aware that shopping local helps pay for dance lessons for the kids of the entrepreneurs that have dared to try to fulfill their dreams of owning a business. So if helping others isn’t compelling enough of a reason to shop local, why do it? And, while we’re on the subject, why does it cost a little more, at times, to shop local? And is it worth the extra few cents?
I sincerely believe that if you consider the “big picture”, it not only makes ethical sense to support our neighbors, but it also makes financial sense for us personally, as consumers, to shop locally as well. When you spend a dollar locally, you’re paying local taxes. (If you like nice roads or a well-maintained fire truck to respond to house fires, this is a good thing) You’re also paying the salaries of members of our community. Those people, in turn, spend dollars locally – paying more taxes. Paying other local people’s salaries. The more money our local community has, the less poverty we have. The more attractive our community is to newcomers that will also spend dollars and pay taxes locally. The more people we have “chipping in” to our local community, the less the burden is on each of us individually.
As far as why it costs more to buy local, that is often a myth. Many local retailers are able to provide the exact same prices as big box stores. Even if it’s a slight price deviation, the difference that you’re buying is service. But instead of just buying the product, you are also buying their service. A good boutique owner will tell you to size up or down or walk away from a piece of clothing if it’s unflattering. A good local print shop will not only let you place order with them, but they will also advise you on what types of promotional products will get you the best bang for your buck. A great local credit card processor will not only give you competitive pricing, but will also bend over backwards to give excellent service and help integrate with other technology and vendors.
So, what is “local”, really? To me, to be considered local, that depends on where the profits go. If you buy a website from a local company but they outsource their work to another state or country, that isn’t local. Here’s a hint, if you can buy stock in the company you’re buying from, that isn’t local.
I’ll confess, I still use big box stores and online ordering sometimes. But, I am committing myself to going local more and more.
If you use our Vitality South Services, here are the faces and families you are helping. We all live in Mississippi and pay state and city taxes. We represent Tupelo, MS, Mooreville, MS, Saltillo, MS, Fulton, MS, and Nettleton, MS. We are local. And we’d be honored to give you the best service and products imaginable – and at nationally competitive rates.