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Local Pride

Monday, August 5, 2013   (0 Comments)
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The keynote speaker at the Aug. 4 LocalShops1's 5th Birthday Bash & Best in Biz Awards was Daniel James Scott, of USF-St Petersburg Sustainable Entrepreneurship & Innovation Alliance  and SBA's Small Business Advocate of the Year.   Here is his speech:




Good morning! Welcome to the stunning Safety Harbor Resort & Spa. 


My wife and I took the opportunity to take a walk around the place a bit before coming in, and all I can say is *wow* - this place is first class!


We’ve held this event at some impressive locations, yet I have to say that *this* takes the birthday cake.  I know first hand that stepping up an event like this every year is not easy, so let’s thank Ester, Mo and team for putting this together for us. Can we give them a quick round of applause?


In preparation for today, Ester and Mo have been posting some of Rob Moorman’s beautiful photos from last year’s event. Which got me thinking about all that has changed over the last year, and the number of great successes that have occurred.


For me personally, my wife and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary, we welcomed two nephews into the world, and I, you know, cut my hair.


Professionally, the Entrepreneurship program at USFSP is going tremendously well, with both the program and students winning prestigious national awards.  My small business, Alorum, in its 7th year is launching its first product at the end of the summer.


My community, in St. Petersburg (aside from the Rays, Lens and political campaigning) is getting recognition for the *right* reasons with Sean Kennedy’s work to establish the Greenhouse, TEDx being announced and Startup Weekend having taken place there, and almost half the nominees today from our city.


And although my last 12 months has been incredible, you all have had a banner year.


For one, you are still here.


Which we shouldn’t take for granted, you have done something most don’t.


And even when they do, a quarter of your peers didn’t make it the first year.


Heck, we’re giving an award today, specifically for businesses that have been around for more than 5 years.


To make it that far, more than half the firms they started with never made it to today.


As they push toward 10 years, these entrepreneurs will see around 2/3rds of their peers disappear.


You have done some incredible things.


My wife and I had the pleasure of visiting Shopapalooza this year, also in St. Petersburg, and what an event.


Arguably the best yet, although you didn’t stop there. You all kept pushing forward with new, novel and innovative gatherings.  Events that truly showcased the pride you take in your businesses.


And pride is the keystone, in my opinion, to why this year has been just so magical for you.


We’ve transformed pride in ourselves and our products into a mutual respect for each other.


We have grown our community pride, and it has become contagious.


And because of this is exactly why you are a part of LocalShops1.


Exactly why you donate more, on average, to local charities and community organizations than the chains did last year.


Another reason you are part of LocalShops1 is that it is a proven fact that independent retailers that participate in a "buy local” initiatives grow twice as fast as their peers that don’t.


Now this is interesting.


You may be asking yourself, like I did, why this is the case.


Which brings us back to pride.


I, as a business owner, believe in pride.


We, as business owners, believe in pride.


I as a consumer believe in… well… me.


Shopping is one of the few remaining unabashedly selfish activities we are allowed.


Hell, shopping is war… with oodles of tiny battles firing shots of powerful endorphins into our self-absorbed brains… and making us, as business owners, the enemies!


I know what you’re thinking.


"My customers don’t believe that.”


And they may not, but your customers have seen the light, most have not.


"But, Daniel, virtually every survey of consumers shows that they believe shopping local is important.”


Of course they say they believe that.


Pardon my bluntness, but nobody wants to look like they aren’t part of the team. Aren’t supporting their community. Realistically, most are not where it counts, with their wallets.


And if their own identity is busy being burdened by their own needs, and not tied to how, where or why they shop, what can we do?


Can we do anything?


Well, I propose we can, and should, feed into the buyers brain, without directly attempting them to change how they shop.


I propose this as the goal for next year.




Consumers win those buying battles when their brains feel in control. Their minds fear any vulnerability and crave power. Power over us.


And we have the tools to empower their innate sense of authority.


First, remind shoppers that choice always trumps limited options.


Diversity is a game played daily, with ever dollar spent.


We, as buyers, don’t get to control much of our spend, only around a quarter of every dollar a consumer spends is on the fun stuff… the stuff that allows our brain to release those pleasing chemicals… the stuff we have the choice to source locally or not.


Choosing big box, or the internet, over independents creates less options and, therefore, less competition.


The world will adopt to their dollar.


And I say watch out what you wish for.


Big follows efficient.


Efficiency leads to less options.


Less options equals less endorphins.


Our brains are addicted to finding new and different.


And these all start local.


Point #1: Buying local ensures more choice and options improve my life.


Second, we need to remind to customers that more money spent locally directly correlates to building a better place to live.


You, consumers, have the control!


You have the power!


Local spending means local prosperity.


Money spent at local businesses generates 3.5x more wealth for the local economy compared to money spent at chain-owned businesses.


This isn’t about making anyone filthy rich; it is about keeping local money local.


$1 of every $15 in Florida’s GDP is income pushed out to small business owners… you all.


And that cash is twice as likely to be spent buying goods and services from other local businesses.


When you shop at chains, that money flows elsewhere.


Your cash leaves the hood.




How dramatic is this problem?


Spending $100 at an independent business creates $68 in local economic activity.


That same $100 only $43 at a big box.


Let’s get specific.


Spending $100 at Target keeps only $16 local.  That amount doubles at an independent retailer.


Plus, a Target next door hurts your home value.


A mix of local shops add to it.


Point #2: Buying local make my home, literally and figuratively, more valuable.


Third, we should reinforce the fact that big boxes cost more than just checkout prices… and give us less control over our spend.


Let me explain.


This past year, Florida spent approximately $183 million for "economic development” (read buying jobs from elsewhere, relocating them, and keeping them here).


Which is odd, since small businesses generated 65% of net new jobs over the past 20 years.


Just out of curiosity, by a show of hands, was anyone here "developed” economically by the state last year?


I wasn’t.


Anyone here get a tax break?


I didn’t.


I’ll tell you, one of my favorite people is Dr. Cynthia Johnson, who helps work with entrepreneurs here in Pinellas County.


And has netted considerable returns on our tax dollar investment.


Pinellas County spends 8x more of your tax dollars attracting businesses to Pinellas County than supporting entrepreneurs.


The return on that investment of our money, as consumers and tax payers, has not been nearly so positive.


Attracting a job costs 10x as much in tax dollars than developing one.


"Buying” jobs is simply a bad investment of our tax dollars.


Developing net new jobs costs almost nothing, improves my life, and makes my home more valuable.


And, if I may add an example here, these purchased jobs tend to underpay compared with the ones we create.


For example, the average amount of local wages paid for every $100 check at a full-service chain restaurant is $18.68, that number jumps by 50% for local full-service restaurants.


Yet we continue to incentivize, just to build on this flawed metric.


Then, when these bought jobs get here, they lead directly to destroying more local jobs than they create, continuing the vicious cycle of poorly spending my money for me.


Continuing even further, the tax benefits we used to incentivize these acquisitions are proven to be completely negated by the cost of providing public services to these developments while declining tax revenue from existing commercial districts.


Point #3: Buying local gives keeps me from getting screwed.


So, to recap, although we have had a killer year, I believe we can gain even more traction this coming year by taking the consumer’s side.


Heck, we are all in business to do these great things anyway.


We want our customers to have a better life.


We want their homes to be more valuable.


We don’t want them getting screwed.


We care.


We take pride in what we do, how we do it, and in what we believe.


Now let’s take this opportunity to let the world know that buying local does these things for them.


LocalShops1 does these things for them.


For us.


For everyone.


But that’s next year.


Today, we are here to celebrate you.


You’ve made it another year.


You’ve built this community into something special.


You’ve made local pride contagious.


So stand up… come on… stand up… and give yourselves a huge round of applause!!!


Thank you!


Data from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance,  Statistic Brain, and other public sources was used in this speech.

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