Shopping Locally is an Important Part of a Thriving Community
Did you know that for every $100 you spend at a locally owned business, $48 stays in the community? When you shop local that money supports our schools, streets, jobs and safety.
- 48% of revenue from independent retailers is recirculated in the community^
- 65% of revenue from independent restaurants is recirculated in the community^
- Every dollar you spend at a local store has a higher chance of being spent at another local business.
- A quarter of the region’s workforce is employed in the Retail or Hospitality & Leisure sectors
- 27,000 retail jobs
- 22,000 hospitality and leisure jobs
- $1.1 billion: Projected Holiday Shopping Season in Lafayette Parish (Nov. & Dec.)
*^Source: Civic Economics; American Express
Now more than ever, amidst the current COVID-19 crisis our local business need our support. Here are 4 ways you can support local in Broussard and help soften the economic blow:
- Learn About Local Businesses Set aside a day to explore our town and see what it has to offer. This directory of businesses from the Broussard Chamber of Commerce will give you a firsthand guide of where to patronize.
- Shop Locally Once you’ve identified local businesses in your area, the next step is to make shopping at them part of your usual routine. Since local businesses often can’t match the low prices of big-box stores, we understand that it might be challenging if you’re on a tight budget.
However, there are several ways to get around this problem:
- Budget for It. Set aside a small sum in your personal or business budget each month specifically for local shopping. Then, when you want to buy something at a local store but you’re hesitating over the price, you have the money in your budget. For instance, if a local, independent bookstore is charging $20 for a book that’s only $14 on Amazon, count the extra $6 as part of your local shopping budget for the month.
- Go Local for Services. Goods are often cheaper at big-box stores that sell cheap, mass-produced wares. However, services are often just as cheap (or even cheaper) when you buy them locally. For example, when I needed to print up a bunch of mailers for a folk festival I volunteered for, a local print shop gave me a better price – and was much more convenient to use – than Office Depot. Likewise, taking a pair of worn-out shoes to my local shoe-repair shop for resoling is cheaper than buying a new pair.
- Shop Local for the Holidays. Shopping local is an excellent choice for holiday gifts because a present feels more special when it comes from your own hometown. Many independent businesses offer seasonal sales or discounts that you can find quickly on their social media pages.
- Eat Locally Not all local businesses are useful to everyone. For instance, a children’s clothing store isn’t of much use to you if you don’t have kids. However, everybody has to eat, so sticking local for takeout is one of the best ways to support your local economy. A locally owned grocery store is a good place to start, but a specialty meats market is even better. Shopping there gives you a chance to meet not just the people who sell your food, but the people who grow it. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that the number of farmers markets in the country has increased nearly fivefold since 1994, so your chances of finding a market in your area are better than ever.
Shopping at farmers markets & specialty meats markets has several advantages over supermarket shopping:
- Quality. Farmers market produce is usually fresher than the goods sold at supermarkets. Since farmers harvest the food locally, it hasn’t spent days or weeks traveling across the country. The fresher fruits and vegetables are, the better they taste, the more nutrients they retain, and the longer they stay fresh before you eat them.
- Sustainability. Locally grown food doesn’t have to be shipped long distances, which reduces its carbon footprint– the amount of greenhouse gas produced in growing, harvesting, and transporting it. Also, most sellers at farmers markets are small-scale growers who can more easily adopt green growing practices. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, nearly half of all farmers markets sell organic products – and 3 out of 4 farmers who sell their goods at farmers markets grow food in a way that meets organic standards, even if they don’t have official organic certifications. Also, 48% of them use integrated pest management – a method of controlling pests with minimal damage to the environment – and 81% use soil health practices, such as growing cover crops and producing their own compost.
- Information. At a farmers or specialty meats market, the person behind the counter knows the answer to all kinds of questions a clerk at a supermarket doesn’t. For example, they can explain which varieties of apples are better for cooking and which are better for eating or guide you to the best cuts of steak to grill and how they raised the cattle.
- Atmosphere. Local markets are typically friendlier, more personal settings than big supermarkets. The customer service at a local market just can’t be beat.
- Bank Locally Another way to keep your money in your community is to literally keep your money at a local community bank or credit union rather than a large national bank. Banking locally offers several benefits:
- Lower Cost. Many locally owned banks and credit unions offer the same services as the big national banks, such as credit cards and online bill payment. However, their rates and fees are typically quite a bit better. The National Credit Union Administration, the federal agency that regulates federal credit unions, reports that compared to banks, credit unions usually offer higher interest rates on deposits, lower interest rates on loans, and lower fees. Furthermore, according to the 2019 Banking Landscape Report from Wallethub, checking accounts from community banks are 48% cheaper than those from national banks, pay 45% more interest, and have more features.
- Better Service. Community banks and credit unions offer more personal service because they serve a much smaller area. At a community bank or credit union, the teller will often recognize you, remember your name, and take time to answer your questions. Community banks and credit unions don’t always offer the 24-hour phone service you get from the big banks. But anyone who’s ever spent time trying to navigate the menu on a national bank’s phone lines and connect to a human being knows that isn’t much of a drawback.
- Supporting the Local Economy. Community banks and credit unions make most of their money from loans to local people and businesses. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a community development organization, reports that more than half of all loans to small businesses come from small to mid-size banks and credit unions. Because small local banks make most of their loans within the community, they have an interest in helping that community prosper.
*Source Money Crashers