Are you spending your money in the right places?

Are you shopping locally?

Nationwide, it’s the centerpiece of Chamber of Commerce campaigns aimed at fighting the recession, and a mantra that has been evoked by main street movers and shakers for decades.

Amid all this long-running boosterism, however, a key fact may be lost: Shopping local works.

Economic studies by universities, think tanks and government agencies show that spending locally keeps cash in communities, creates jobs, produces local taxes, saves consumers time, money and gas and builds prosperity. Those same studies speak to the significant “multiplier effect” of a dollar spent locally and how it’s “re-invested” in the community over several business transactions.

Granted, shopping locally by itself will not prevent an economic downturn. Although Alberta’s resource wealth is helping to insulate Albertans from the worst of the fluctuations, local businesses across the province were the first to feel the pressure of our unprecedented boom and labor shortage, and are now the first to feel the pressure of the economic downturn.

With the threat of financial crisis on the horizon, we are all watching what we spend, and that’s not likely to change soon.

But we still go to grocery, hardware and clothing stores. We still buy birthday presents for friends and family, repair our cars, improve our homes and even enjoy the occasional night out.

The idea is, when we do spend, why not make it right here at home, because supporting local small business…

  • Saves time, money and gas: How enjoyable is a night out at the super-multiplex if it involves traffic, crowds and stress?
  • Boosts local economy: The money you spend with local shops is spent buying goods and services from other community businesses, which in turn do the same thing.
  • Helps your neighbors: Do you know the owners and employees of the businesses you shop at?  They benefit from the money you spend and you benefit from friendly and familiar service.
  • Builds a stronger economy: This will not happen overnight, but success builds success, and prosperous local businesses attract new investment and spur community prosperity.
These days, we’re all thinking carefully about how
we spend our money — why not spend yours toward
building a stronger, sustainable economy?

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