Local verses National Chain

so where do you shop? I have to admit that until i took an economics class i never much gave it a thought where i spent my money. In fact one of our most fun vacations was a shopping vacation in Pennsylvania Amish Country. Then the class nailed me to the wall with hard facts.

Buying local insures the local business will be around, and that local business is paying taxes, and salaries of local people. If it is an artist, or skilled craftsman that you are purchasing an item or service from you are keeping them employed, solvent, and able to pay their taxes. Ultimately your money and purchasing power benefits your own community when you buy local. The businesses are able to pay their bills, salaries, expenses, taxes. And you have quality items made or grown close to home.

It is actually an old fashioned model for economics that worked for centuries… probably due to practicality, lack of decent transportation, and lack of the modern conveniences like refrigration. But it is an idea that works well.

Under the economic layer of buying local there is the human side, the sense of community that grows with the buy local idea. You begin to learn the names of the merchants, and they begin to look for you. Funny, when i was a kid we never gave it a second thought when mom wanted a chicken or a chuck roast – we went to the butcher where Mr Smith looked over the counter and greeted my mom with her name, his bow tie and white butcher apron covering that crisp white shirt. And he had ideas for improving the outcome of that piece of meat – tips to maximize flavor, suggestions for what is a deal this week. It was good. You were known, and you felt as though this is how it should be.

National chains have become convenient one stop for anything and everything…. get your groceries, do the banking, pick up a movie, and on and on. But there is no Mr Smith offering his friendly tips, and often not even the cashiers are the same week after week. Don;t get me wrong, there is a place for the national chains, but our nation has been made up of millions of mom and pop stores, working hard to make a living, loving serving their community, and longing to provide a needed service to loyal local patrons.

Perhaps it is a glimpse into the past and that kinder and gentler age, but perhaps we long more than ever to be known and know others, and have that sense of community. Economics or not, i really like buying local. How about you?

And it seems that this sentiment is growing. Ifound an amazing organzation called The 3/50 Project…. and here is their basic claim: