Most of us will make resolutions this month – to lose weight, stop smoking or to take up yoga – in order to make improvements in our lives.
However, there is something else that will have a long-lasting impact on our lives and on our communities. That is the commitment to shift some of our spending from national chains to independent businesses.
It’s estimated that if residents of an average American city shifted 10 percent of their spending from national chains to local businesses, $235 million per year would be added to the community’s economy. That’s a big number.
Why should you resolve to shift a portion of your spending to neighborhood businesses this year? Here’s what it will do:
Keep Dollars in Your Community: For every $100 spent at a chain, only $13 stays and benefits your local community. Conversely, that $100 spent at local businesses keeps $45 in the local economy.
Preserve Local Character: There’s an economic advantage when a community is able to preserve its one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character. Mega-malls offer pretty much the same thing, whether located in Austin, Texas or Hartford, Conn.
Local Decision-Making: When a business is locally owned and operated, important decisions that have wide-ranging consequences are made by people who live in the community and feel the impact of those decisions.
Provide Jobs and Wages: Independent businesses create more jobs, employ your neighbors and often provide better wages and benefits than their chain competitors. They also buy from local suppliers and service providers, pay local taxes and make donations to community causes.
Better for the Environment: Local stores help to sustain vibrant, convenient and walkable town centers, which reduce sprawl, save gas and minimize water and air pollution.
How will you shift 10 percent of your spending this year?
Steve Jasinski is president of the La Grange Business Association and a local realtor with Baird & Warner.