Buying local is investing in your community

buylocal260x175The people of the world are consuming more and more of the world. And the global economy and the internet has made it easier and easier. We are all increasingly connected, in many ways, and our rate of consumption is increasing.

The human population is larger than it has ever been, and we are using more resources. The impact of more people consuming more resources is a serious concern, but individuals and communities can make a difference by choosing to be more educated and responsible “consumers.”

We need to think about the affects of how we spend or invest our money. That can be complicated and daunting, perhaps, but one thing for certain is that spending in small and local business in our community beings many direct and indirect benefits to our local economy and our quality of life. My previous blog post was about making conscious choices about the food we consume; this will focus on other purchases.

dancingbearThere are plenty of reasons to support your local small businesses — or “Mom & Pop” stores — and most of those reasons will benefit the business, the communty…and you, the consumer. First of all, you can feel good about buying products from local businesses because you know where those products came from. Frederick has a lot of great places, the Muse or the Dancing Bear for example, sell products that are made by small businesses or local craftspeople. I’m not saying that every single item is handcrafted with love and care, but I am saying that a lot more love and care go into those products than what you would buy at Target. You can sleep, assured that the toy you bought for your child was not made by someone close to his or her age. With so many options, it’s important to consider what your money is supporting.

And when considering what you are spending, think about you are supporting, what you are investing in. Every purchase you make from a local business can be thought of as an investment in your hometown. Most of the money you spend on local artisans or business owners will stay in your community. Funding small businesses also helps encourage competition; the corporate goliaths that appear are the result of a lack of anyone to compete with. When you think about where your money is being invested, it’s obvious that spending locally is best because it most benefits you.

Shopping locally is truly the smartest and most beneficial way to shop. Growing businesses encourages the local economy. More job opportunities are created. You’ll probably get better service during your shopping experience and you will know where many of the products came from. In a time where we have so many options, it’s important and whorthwhile to consider our purchases before we make them.

So remember, as a consumer you hold a powerful position. Intentionally or not, you help choose which businesses survive and which don’t. You choose what to support and what economy to invest in. You have a lot of decisions to make on a daily basis, and they all affect your community. Think before you shop. You can make a purchase, or you can make a positive investment.

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