In honor of REST week currently underway here at Bliss Habits I am not conducting our usual “Speaking of” blog party and am instead honoring “Small Business Saturday” with a re-broadcast of a post from a couple of years ago. Message still just as timely! Please enjoy:
A week or so ago, one of my neighbors stopped by. She had started selling Avon and wanted to give me the catalogs. I told her I would take a look and let her know. Truth of the matter is I felt a little annoyed. I didn’t really want to buy anything from an Avon catalog and I became nervous that every time I saw Nadine it would become all about whether or not I was ready to place an order.
Later, I sort of obligingly took a little flip through the catalog and noticed that there were a pair of slippers that I liked. I needed slippers. In fact I had planned on running over to Target to pick up a pair before it got too cold around here. Then it hit me. I need slippers. My neighbor has a way to get me a pair, at a really good price I might add, so why the heck would I even think of buying the same things from Target?
Which further got me thinking that I really have an opportunity to help my local economy with this purchase. I have no idea what benefit Nadine will receive from my purchase but I am clear that I would much rather have Nadine profit from my purchase then I would a huge store like Target.
I happen to think that Target is a pretty good outfit about giving back to its local communities, and I certainly don’t want to hurt a company that employs so many in my local area so I will certainly continue to shop there for things I can’t get elsewhere. However, because I know for a fact that most of the money that Nadine earns from her little business venture will be spent here in my local area, I know this is a good business decision.
I read the following in an article from the Jersey City Independent: Let’s say you spend $5 on breakfast and coffee this hypothetical morning. Using figures from studies done in other cities, if you shop at the locally-owned business, $3.40 of that $5 will stay in the community. But if you shop at the non-locally owned chain business, the figure falls to $2.15. And that’s just on your $5 purchase: once you start thinking about how much money changes hands each day at Jersey City’s retail establishments, the individual choices we make start to mean something.
The money Nadine earns from my purchase will be used around here. Maybe she’ll go to a local farmers market and buy a halloween pumpkin with her earnings. That local farmer might take his pumpkin profit over to a local coffee shop and spend it there. The coffee shop owner may buy a birthday card for his mother in law with some of his money and around and around that money will go!
Then it hit me even further. Collectively we can all be the stimulus this economy needs. If we are smart about where and how we purchase things our little dollars can go further. I also don’t think we need to be strictly limited by our geographic areas. If I need a gift for Christmas I could buy something from an ETSY artist (Theresa has some lovely items!) and once again I am putting some money back into the economy. The local bread and butter economy. Not the corporate fat cat economy.
Now I don’t happen to think that all corporations are evil and some of the economies of scale certainly benefit us but if given a choice I want to buy “local” and for me local means, from my neighbor when possible and from another area’s local craftsman, vendor, artisan who is more likely to spread my dollars back into the economy. I am changing my thinking not just in terms of what can I get for my dollar but in terms of how the dollars I will spend can really make a difference.
How will you use your dollars?