Buying Local - How it Boosts The Economy and Helps All of Us!
Shop local, buy local, and spend local, there’s no secret they’ve become a buzzword in marketing and advertising with the smaller guys competing against big companies. You see it in shop windows, on social media, when you turn the TV on, when you listen to the radio, it’s everywhere you look. Leading up to Christmas and with Tasmania feeling the effects of a global pandemic with fewer tourists, there’s no doubt we’re going to be hearing these words even more.
You’ve got to agree, it’s a great feeling going into a local store, meeting the owner themselves, hearing their story, and buying the products they have worked so hard to source or create. That feeling when you pay the owner, look them in the eye, and you know that you’re contributing to their bottom line, putting food on the table for their family, giving their kids more opportunities, allowing the owner to have a day off once in a while, or finally complete those renovations they have talked about for decades. Yep, without a doubt, it does feel good! But isn’t your purchase just a ‘drop in the ocean’, can you really have a bigger impact on the economy itself? What sort of impact are you really having beyond that ‘feel-good-factor’?
It’s true, it doesn’t just feel good to shop local, research shows that there are actually economic boosts for communities as a result of shopping locally! In a 2009 Times Magazine Article, they cite a study by The New Economics Foundation, an independent economic think tank in London, which compared what happens when people buy products from the supermarket, compared to the local farmers market and it found that twice the money stayed in the community when locals bought locally! The Time Magazine wrote ‘That means those purchases are twice as efficient in terms of keeping the local economy alive’.
In Tasmania right now, we have an opportunity to really make a difference to our economy and everyone who lives here. You have probably already heard of the boosted economy affects some businesses and industries are experiencing by being busier than they can ever remember! You know why? We’re all home in Tasmania spending our money in Tasmania, look at us go!! So why don’t we continue this trend?
It goes so much further than buying your fruit and veg from the local grocer (of course definitely do that too), but with the Tasmanian borders still closed and everyone lacking their dose of a 2020 holiday, it’s a good chance for us to experience Tasmania more. Plus, it will encourage us all to spend more money locally and continue to boost our economy. A weekend getaway to the opposite end of the state booking at a family-run BnB, a day trip for a hike with a stop at a local bakery along the way to stock up on snacks and lunch, booking an adventurous Tasmanian experience you have never got around to doing; not only do you benefit from what you gain in the experience, but our local shop owners/operators, plus the rest of us, benefit too!
So how does spending locally end up helping you, your family, your town, and our state as a whole?
Of course, the busier we keep our local small businesses, the more staff they will need to run their business. Creating opportunities in employment for more people.
When we shop local, it allows our small business owners to focus on a more niche market, rather than trying to diversify themselves to cover their butts. Already we have amazing artisans and creators in Tasmania, and this will only allow them to hone in on their skills, even more, to become more niche and improve their products. How great would it be to see our local makers and producers continue to specialise in their area of expertise?
More Tight-Knit Communities
When we spend locally, we get to know our community members better and as a buyer, we can develop personal relationships with sellers. Let’s be honest, you would know the local butcher a little better than whoever the CEO for the big supermarket in your area is, right?
You might realise the guy you buy your weekly fruit and veg from, is the same guy you see at the pub on a Friday night and can now you already have that relationship you can chat and get to know each other a bit better, and you know what you’ll probably discover his dad and your dad played footy together in their hay day, or some other crazy small community connection! You wouldn’t be doing that with the CEO of a big supermarket!
Less Distance To Transport Goods
By spending locally instead of globally, we are also helping our environment. Rather than buying that table from Ikea on the mainland and having it shipped over here, you could buy one locally from a furniture restorer who has restored it themselves in your home town. Imagine how much we could cut down travel of goods if we shopped more locally? And the impact that would have on our environment if everyone did it?
More Buyers Trust
When you buy locally, the odds of getting what you expected to get are much greater, compared to products made overseas which most likely won’t have the same level of quality. A local maker isn’t going to risk ruining their reputation by producing poor quality products, compared to an overseas company that doesn’t know you or anyone in your community. If you have ever bought anything cheap online, we’re sure you get what we’re talking about!! If you haven't, read this thread for a quick demonstration: 50 People Who Deeply Regret Shopping Online.
At the end of the day, you probably end up saving money when you buy the slightly more expensive local item that’s actually good quality and lasts a lifetime.
More Resilient Communities
When we are able to have more diversity in our local small businesses we are also able to have a more resilient economy and community. Whereas, if the majority of local jobs are all in the same big company or industry and that happens to go under or close, the community is greatly affected.
Money Circulates Quicker
When we spend our money locally, your money actually circulates much quicker. The local butcher spends the money for his daughter's dance class, the dance instructor buys a new dress from the local dressmaker, the dressmaker spends the money at a local restaurant, and so on… compared to big companies who will keep their profits locked away and most likely not spend one cent in our community.
We understand it’s not possible for everyone to always spend locally, but if we all make a conscious effort, especially if it’s something we were going to buy anyway, let’s make an effort to do it.
Here are some simple ideas for spending locally with money that you may have spent anyway, so just a simple swap!
Stay in a family-run BnB for a weekend getaway instead of a big chain hotel.
Fill up on fuel in a rural town with a privately run roadhouse instead of in town with the big companies if you’re already going that way
Buy gifts locally instead of online
Buy a Tasmanian experience voucher instead of an iTunes voucher
Buy second-hand quality furniture locally rather than cheaply manufactured furniture from big chains
Have a dressmaker hand-make some items instead of shopping at a large store
Buy from your local producers; bakery, fruit & veg, cheese factories, butcher, honey makers, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to Tasmanian grown and made produce & goods.
Getting takeaways from the local restaurants/cafes rather than the chain companies
Remember, you may end up spending more in the beginning, but not only will what you buy be of better quality and last longer, but that money will also end up back in your pocket quicker. Whether it’s getting you more hours at work, someone spending money in your store, your family's business getting more sales, or a sense of community in your local area.
And lastly, never forget that feel-good feeling you always get when you spend, shop, and buy locally in Tasmania!