Buy local. . .or bye, bye local

(Editor's note: the following article was submitted by the AJMPU Unit of University of Illinois Extension.)

In this current economic crisis, it is more important than ever that we all make a conscious decision to support our local business community whenever possible. 

Community members don’t like to see local businesses close their doors or to see vacant buildings scattered throughout the community; however, it is rare that community members consider that their own buying patterns may have attributed to the business’ demise. 

The money you spend to purchase even the smallest of items, such as a gallon of gas, a box of detergent or a carton of milk can have a direct impact on our local economy. 

As cost conscious shoppers opt to drive out of the local community to save a few cents on items that can be purchased locally, they are unconsciously attributing to a downward cycle which negatively impacts the local business community, the local job market, local real estate markets and the local tax base.

As we enter the new decade this January, each of us needs to ask ourselves, how much of our income are we investing in the economic vitality of our community? 

While it is apparent that there are several things that one simply cannot buy in the “hometowns” here in Southernmost Illinois, we need to look beyond the cost to consider the overall impact of our purchasing decisions on the local economy. 

Is the bargain purchase really a bargain, if it negatively impacts local employment and wages, the local tax base, and ultimately even our local schools? 

Spending locally keeps money in the community; helps to retain existing jobs; creates an environment for new jobs; generates local sales tax revenue; provides support for local charities, schools and youth programs; gives people a reason to visit and spend money in our community; and contributes to further growth of our business community.  

As consumers, we have the power to shape the future of our community.  If we don’t support our local business community, who will? 

Do your part to help shift market share back to locally owned businesses by buying local so it is not "bye, bye local."

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        The Gazette-Democrat

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