Meet Scott Jacoby, volunteer leader of ChooseKC.org, a shop local initiative. Choose KC is a small but committed group of independent business owners, public sector economic development professionals and community activists dedicated to expanding and strengthening Kansas City’s local economy through the power of locally owned, independent business.
This past November, a staggering 100 million shoppers turned out to support “Small Business Saturday,” a one-day event sponsored by American Express. According to the Business Insider, in only its second year, awareness among shoppers hit 65 percent, up nearly 30 percent from the first year.
If this kind of success could be turned into a monthly or weekly event, just think how our local entrepreneurs and our communities would benefit and thrive.
The Economies of the Big Box
Communities across the United States are beginning to understand the importance of supporting their local producers and suppliers. As a consumer, shifting a percentage of your spending to local businesses will benefit the local economy by keeping those dollars in a smaller radius for a longer period of time.
On the contrary, franchises and large chains operate under a business model that generates major economies of scale along with national branding. This results in a significant competitive advantage that, although beneficial for shareholders, may not be so for local economies. By nature, this model removes a large portion of commerce from any local economy.
Why Buying Local Matters
A 2003 study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance concluded that every $100 spent at locally owned independent businesses generated $45 of secondary local spending compared to just $14 for big-box operations.
Additionally, it has been demonstrated that 3.5 times as much wealth is created in the local economy compared to a dollar spent at a big-box or chain-owned business.
Keeping commerce locally focused is a win-win for small business owners and for citizens. Simply put, money spent in your community equals jobs.
Groups like independentwestand.org, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) and American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) are national organizations that empower locally owned independent businesses by providing education, networking tools and other building blocks to create a strong local economy.
Kansas City can benefit from the expertise of these national organizations by using our tools to educate citizens on the importance of spending money locally. When people visit Kansas City, we want them to experience what makes our city unique. To do that, it is imperative that we build a strong community of locally owned independent businesses.