Enthusiastic cheers of “shop local” are echoing throughout the Flagstaff community. December is official shop local month in Flagstaff, and many organizations are collaborating to spread and the word and educate consumers about why it is important to support local business.
Independent local merchants return 68% of their revenue to the community. National chains and big box stores return about 13-43%. Out of town websites return 0%. (Data provided by 3/50 Project). Many studies document the positive economic impact of locally owned businesses, and how they contribute significantly more money to the local economy than do retail chains. Local retailers like Mountain Sports support the 3/50 Project, a national campaign that promotes stronger local economies through support of independent retailers and the consumers who shop with them.
Lisa Lamberson from Mountain Sports explains, “By choosing to shop locally, our customers are part of the preservation of the brick and mortar our mountain town is known for. The character and the charm of Flagstaff are reflected in the independent and locally owned stores. Imagine how different our town would be if these shops all disappeared, it’s the loyal and local support that keeps our business operating in Downtown Flagstaff.”
By thinking local, we can make choices that have dramatic impact on our local communities, economies, and environments. The Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce launched their buy local campaign in 2005 highlighting the importance of spending our dollars here in Flagstaff. The Chamber encourages businesses to use the Buy-Dine-Stay brand on their fliers, advertisements, and online marketing to help create awareness in the community. Kat Ross of the Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce explains, “Buy-Dine-Stay in Flagstaff is a perfect example of local businesses coming together to support each other and spread the word about the extreme importance to our local economy of buying local. Five local businesses met together in the Chamber of Commerce board room to discuss the need to educate our citizenry about the great benefits for our community when we all embrace buying local. After all, when we support each other and buy from each other, our local economy prospers.”
A shop local campaign reminds consumers about the economic and social advantages that independent and local businesses bring to a community. The goal is to create a thriving local economy by maximizing the potential of local businesses, and transferring market share (business, government, and consumer purchases) from non-locally owned businesses to local independently owned businesses.
So Why Buy Local in Flagstaff this December?
- Save and Create Jobs – Keep your community employed – when you support Flagstaff businesses, those businesses retain or hire more employees.
- You Recycle Your Dollar – When you spend your money in Flagstaff, your money is recycled an estimated seven times.
- Environmentally Sustainable – Don’t drive to another town or have your items shipped to you – buy from a Flagstaff business and reduce your environmental impact.
- You will Save $$$ – Avoid travel costs or shipping charges by buying it in Flagstaff!
- Contributes to the Retail Sales Tax Rate – That 1% you pay in city taxes funds everything from police and fire protection to the maintenance of our streets and roads.
It is understood that we will rarely be able to buy everything we need or use from local independent businesses. But educating consumers to first think local to maximize the impact of their daily actions and purchasing decisions. Communities with vibrant independent businesses retain their unique character, attract tourists, and create a better place to live for community members.