Local First Mid Michigan is committed to our community and growing a sustainable local economy. We work to educate our community about the multiple benefits of locally owned independent businesses, and to nurture relationships among locally owned businesses.
We strongly believe that “It’s your capital. Keep it local” because we see the power firsthand that local residents have when they shift even just a small amount of their spending to locally owned businesses. Thinking local first helps employ local people, create unique places to shop and play, and protect the environment.
Why Buy Local?
Numerous studies about the benefits of buying local have been conducted across the country. The Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development assembled a summary of those benefits in its report,“Why Buy Local? An assessment of the Economic Advantages of Shopping at Locally Owned Businesses.” Here’s what the MSU report found:
1. Create jobs for your neighbors.
You create more local jobs when you buy from local, independent businesses. Small businesses are the largest employers nationally, creating 2 out of every 3 new jobs. This means more Americans work for a company with fewer than 100 employees than for a big-box retailer, with more than 500 employees.
2. Keep your money in your community.
For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $73 stays in the local economy, creating jobs and paying for essential services like schools, libraries and public safety. For every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, only $43 stays in the community.
3. They call it the neighborhood store for a reason.
Local business owners live and work in the community, sending their children to our schools, supporting local nonprofits and participating in community groups. Studies have found that locally owned businesses contribute more than twice as much of their revenue to charitable causes as corporate chains do.
4. Go Green! Buy Local.
Locally owned businesses often buy more goods from other local businesses, reducing unnecessary transportation, packaging and fuel emissions. Local businesses also are more likely to be clustered in walkable, bike-friendly commercial districts.
5. It’s good to be different.
Unique, local businesses are a point of pride for the Capital Area and help make our community unique and vibrant. You can visit a national chain almost anywhere, but you can only visit our locally owned and independent businesses when you shop in the Capital Area.
6. More choices.
Small, local businesses often sell products or provide services you can’t get from national chains, which carry the same line of products in all their stores. A marketplace of hundreds of small businesses helps to ensure more innovation and competition, bringing down prices while ensuring a more diverse product mix.
7. Encourage entrepreneurship.
Cultivating and nurturing local, innovative entrepreneurs is the best way to grow our economy. Building a community of strong, local businesses also inspires younger generations to stay in Michigan, launch their own businesses and prosper on their own terms.
8. Save tax dollars.
Small neighborhood and downtown businesses require less public infrastructure. Studies show big-box stores and sprawling shopping centers are more costly in terms of road work and police services.
9. Who do you want determining your future?
Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
10. Be the customer. Not a number.
Local business owners often build long-standing, personal relationships with their customers. They also tend to possess a level of expertise and passion that can’t be matched by employees and managers of national chains.