Saturday, March 13, 2010
In Syracuse and Albany, there are grassroots campaigns to urge people to shop locally, by going to small, indie business 100% owned and operated in their respective regions. 68% of the money spent stays in the local community, while the rest may go to an out-of-town company and the taxman. Still, you're helping your neighbours by shopping close to home. The alternative weeklies in these Upstate hubs (New Times and Metroland) also have annual polls on the best of each category of local businesses.
Locally-owned franchises of multi-national chains such as McDonald's for starters don't technically count since the big boys will still get the lion's share. The point of this movement is to avoid the Walmarts and KFCs of the world whenever possible. A local business is supposed to be the antithesis of the big box conglomos.
I'm not sure if there are similar trends in the rest of Upstate (especially areas comprised mainly of small towns like the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys on the Thruway corridor), but there ought to be. The economy needs help big time, and it starts in our own backyards.
Buying local products is a plus, but that might not always be practical. Some things can't be made or grown in the Northeast US, like orange juice or shea butter.
Another downside to it all is that prices might be higher at a local place than a national chain, as the little guy probably can't afford to sell for less, and can't always compete in a David and Goliath situation.
It's good to have selection, but if you can get it local, it will pay for itself at the end of the day.