They are employers and profit-makers, but they’re also neighbours, community builders and the starting point for social innovation. Local businesses align commerce with the common good, bringing transparency, accountability, and relationships to our city.
As a consumer, you move from one business to another, purchasing products and services that meet your needs and improve your quality of life. Each purchase is a vote for the kind of products you desire.
By thinking local, we make choices that have a dramatic impact on our community, economy, and environment. Rarely can we buy everything we need from local businesses, but when we think local first we maximize the positive impact of our daily actions and purchasing decisions. ...But, what exactly is "local"?
Eight years of research by Civic Economics has proven that locally-owned businesses contribute 25% more of their revenue (on average) to the local economy. For every $100 spent, a local business recirculates $68 versus $43 by its nonlocal competitor.
Just a 10% shift in your spending can generate thousands of additional jobs in Calgary, tens of millions of dollars in new wages, and hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental economic activity...EACH YEAR. And research has shown that the reverse is also true - a shift in spending away from local businesses has a negative impact of equal but opposite magnitude.
1. Be aware. Shop your values by buying products that are safe for your family and the environment, from businesses that are honest and transparent. Use third-party certifications and networks like REAP to identify locally-owned businesses that reflect your values.
2. Vote with your dollars. Make deliberate purchases that reflect what's important to you. Remember that it only takes one purchase out of 10 to make a big impact, so start with something small and do it consistently until it becomes a habit. This could be shopping at the Farmer's Market (instead of that big chain grocery store) once every two months or forgoing the ubiquitous green circle and choosing a local coffee shop a couple of times per month.
3. Build community. Being local is about our relationships with our neighbours and our city, so talk to your family and friends about your positive experiences with local businesses. Recruit more people to Be Local and help create a more prosperous and vibrant city for everyone!