Shopping local gives big dividends

At the Seal Beach City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 14,, the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce was presented with a proclamation which stated the essentialness of shopping local for  “a community’s vitality and sustainability as a vibrant and thriving locality.”

In that regard, recently, I read an impressive article by Barbara Wold, international speaker, author and business strategist, on the subject of shopping local.  With her permission, this is for your consideration during this special Holiday Season:

“To emphasize the importance of shopping local, I offer the following:

  • Spend $100 locally, $62 stays right in your community

  • Spend the same $100 in a national chain, only $42 stays in your community

  • Spend that same $100 on-line, $0 is returned to your community

“Now that you see those statistics, let’s aim to improve the economic health of your city by understanding a few more facts:

1) Shopping local creates jobs.  Shops in your town create local employment and self-employment.  These people in turn spend in the local economy.

2) Local independent shops invest more in your community.  Local businesses are proportionally more generous in their support of local charities, schools, and community events.

So supporting local shops means a financial contribution to your community.

3) Local shops sell great products at affordable prices.  Some people get out of the habit of shopping locally but when they come back, they are often surprised by the range of products available.

4) Shopping locally saves you time and money.  You travel less, saving your time and costly fuel.

5) Shopping locally retains merchants in your community.  You don’t like losing shops and services in your city but somehow, we don’t equate this with how we spend our money.

6) Shopping locally retains our distinctiveness.

Independent shops create distinctive shopping experiences and stock different products.  Your local businesses can respond more quickly to the needs of local customers, stocking products to meet changing population needs.

7) Shopping locally saves the environment.   Local shops often stock a high percentage of locally sourced goods that do not require long distance transportation, helping to reduce our global footprint.

8) Local shops are for everyone.  Most people can get to their local shops easily. (Most times, we in Seal Beach can walk!)

9) Local shops value you more.  Evidence from numerous surveys shows people receive better customer care and service locally.  Your businesses survive by their reputation and repeat business, which means you get a high standard of service.

10) Shopping local saves services.  Private and public sector services cluster around retail shops.  As shops disappear, so do hairdressers, banks, restaurants and other businesses and so does your accessible lifestyle.

“You, as customers, can pledge to ‘Think, Shop and Buy Local and Commit’ to patronizing businesses near where you live and work.  Your local stores employ your neighbors, pay taxes that support your schools, improve your streets, provide for your safety and much more.

“Together, you can strengthen relationships that improve your quality of life.  So next time before you make a purchase, think, shop, buy local.

Happy Holidays and happy shopping from the Chamber.

Esther Kenyon is the chief executive officer of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce.