Christmas, Green Living

Why Buy Local this Holiday Season


There are economic and environmental perks to buying local…

As we head into the busiest shopping season of the year consider this shopping resolution:
Buy local as often as possible.

Diverting just 10 percent of your shopping dollars will make a huge difference in our local economy. Small businesses are the engine of our local community so if you want our region to continue to grow and be a vibrant place to live you need to support these local, independent enterprises.

There is an environmental benefit to buying local as well. Shopping locally, especially locally grown or produced items, helps reduce processing, packaging and transportation waste.

And local makers – artisans and craftspeople – are more likely to reuse and recycle more since they are personally connected to their business bottom line and are directly responsible for reducing waste.

When you factor in consumer spending habits, consumers are responsible for more than 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. And 80 percent of our individual carbon footprint comes from the stuff we buy. Buying local is a meaningful way to reduce the environmental impact of our shopping and boost our local economy.

Although there is a convenience to big box stores, and the prices are often (but not always) lower, there is a hidden cost to big box shopping that can still hit your pocketbook.

A 2012 retail economics study by Civic Economics revealed some surprising facts about the economic impact that large retail chains have on a community (and highlights the power of local business):

  • Spending $100 in a local, independent business generates $68 in local economic activity. Spending $100 in a big box retailer generates $48 in local economic activity.
  • Local business generates 70 percent more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail. (For every square foot of space occupied by a chain, the local economic impact is $105, compared to $179 for every square foot occupied by an independent business.)
  • Overall, the study found that each dollar spent at a local business generates 3.5 times more wealth for the local economy than buying at a big box store.

Local independent businesses support the community in other ways too. The next time you attend a fundraising event take a look at who the main sponsors are. Local businesses are more likely to support local charities and fundraising events both through financial donations and in-kind gifts.
Remember that buying local is a choice.

This holiday season think about how you can spend more of your shopping dollars at local independent businesses. From special gifts to holiday grocery shopping, there is an abundance of small, local retailers that are deserving of our dollars.


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