How can we improve our local community’s economic resilience? A sustainable local economy means having lots of eggs in lots of baskets.
One approach, put forward by the USA’s Institute for Local Self-Reliance, is to champion locally owned businesses. They’ve prepared a list of 10 reasons to support locally owned businesses which we reprint below.
While many will agree with the overall concept of supporting local business, the challenge is to move from slogans and committees to strategies and actions which make a difference.
With a local government election on 19 March an important issue is what could and should be done by our Council to support locally owned businesses and increase economic resilience for the Redlands community.
1. Local Character and Prosperity
In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.
2. Community Well-Being
Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.
3. Local Decision-Making
Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
4. Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy
Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.
5. Job and Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
7. Public Benefits and Costs
Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.
8. Environmental Sustainability
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
10. Product Diversity
A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
© Institute for Local Self-Reliance.
Reprinted with the kind permission of the Institute of Local Self Reliance.
The Institute of Local Self Reliance
The Institute for Local Self Reliance (ILSR) has operated since 1974 to provide innovative strategies, working models and timely information to support environmentally sound and equitable community development. Initiatives pursued by the ILSR include community broadband projects.
The author: Stacy Mitchell
Stacy Mitchell is co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its Community-Scaled Economy Initiative, which produces research and analysis, and partners with a range of allies to design and implement policies that curb economic consolidation and strengthen community-rooted enterprise.
An engaging speaker, Stacy has been a featured presenter at many national conferences. In October 2012, she gave a provocative and widely discussed TEDx talk on “Why We Can’t Shop Our Way to a Better Economy.”