|What does it mean to shop local?|
LocalShops1.com is a grassroots effort founded in Gulfport on Aug. 8, 2008. Our mission is to provide advocacy, support and education to locally owned businesses in the Tampa Bay region.
Why Shop, Dine, Play & Save Local?
It's all about the benefits of local ownership:
1. Preserve our community's character. Imagine if all of a sudden you looked around and all you saw were Big Box stores? Locally owned shops also offer more of a custom selection, geared for the local market and our particular needs and interests.
2. Help local charities, local schools & local programs. Studies show that on average, locally owned businesses give three times as much as corporate chains.
3. Keep money local. Of every dollar spent at a locally owned business, about 70 cents stays local. Of every dollar spent at a national corporation, less than 40 cents stays local.
4. Help cut down the unemployment rate. It's a fact: Small businesses provide more jobs. The Big Box store might come in with a splash and many instant (low-paying) jobs, but its long-term impact hurts the community. A town with many small, local businesses employs more people than a town with a Big Box store.
5. Ensure better quality & lower prices. It's all about healthy competition. Having thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
So what does that mean? What businesses belong in the movement? It's not so simple to answer that. Clearly Walmart is out, and your neighborhood coffee shop that is involved in the community is in? But what if that coffee shop in St. Petersburg is owned by three family members, two of whom live out of state? Should that family-owned business be excluded? We don't think so. How about a locally owned franchise? (Yes, that UPS store around the corner is probably owned by one of your neighbors!)
When considering what businesses fit in the buy-local movement, we ask if they fit the spirit of the five points listed above.
In the case of the family-owned coffee shop with some family members who live out of state, for example, some of the profits end up going to people outside the Tampa Bay region. But the coffee shop, we think, still qualifies as local and fits the spirit of the movement. Unsure? What if there was only one owner, but she used most of the profits to support her parents in a different state? Would we want to penalize for that?
What do you think? What businesses fit in the movement? What about that UPS store in Tampa that is heavily involved in the community and local charities?
We want to know your opinions! You can share them below.