Shopping Locally Supports Community, Environment

There are fewer than 40 days until Hanukkah and Christmas, and even fewer between now and the many holiday obligations in the weeks to come. And if you’re like many Americans, that can put you in a holidaze trying to ensure you have the white elephant for the company party, gifts for the kids’ teachers, something special for all those hard-to-please family members — as Santa knows, the list is long. 

While big box deals and the convenience of online shopping have their allure, consider the tremendous benefits shopping locally has for your community. 

“There is a very direct relationship between the health of your local community and how much shopping you do online,” said David Thorpe of Smart City Policy and Civic Partnerships. “The way you spend your money, which might be the most powerful tool to effect social change that you have at your disposal, is crucial to the well-being of your community.”

When you spend money at a chain or online, much of that money leaves the community — and many online companies don’t pay local taxes. Money that stays within the local economy gets spent again (often also within the community) and increases well-being within the community. This is called the local multiplier effect. Economists estimate that the impact of your spending between a chain and a local, independent business is a factor of three to five times greater locally. 

When you shop locally, more of your money is kept in the local economy. In fact, the Civic Economics – Andersonville Study of Retail Economics found that for every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community.

When that money stays in the community, you support the availability of a larger number of higher-paying jobs in the area. 

And those taxes that don’t get paid online? Those help pay for important public professions like teachers, police officers and firefighters who work here. Shopping in a local business district also means there is less need for infrastructure and maintenance by the city, which puts more of your sales tax dollars into other important community needs. 

Buying locally also is better for the environment. It conserves energy and resources by decreasing fuel needed for transportation and cutting out excessive packaging. 

All of the economics aside, when you shop locally, you are embracing what makes your community unique. You are supporting entrepreneurship, getting to know your neighbors, getting the benefit of business owners’ expertise, creating more local choice, making your community a destination spot, and best of all, nurturing a sense of community connection. 

North Denver businesses are hosting a variety of events and special offerings throughout the holiday season, including Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30. See more in the Community Calendar.


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