Why Local?September 2, 2021
For every $100 that you spend at a non-local business, $57 leaves your community.
For every $100 that you choose to spend non-local over a local alternative, you immediately send $25 outside of your community — into the hands of multinational corporations, and away from your neighbours, friends, and family.
Since the onset of the pandemic there has been a huge movement for supporting local businesses — for good reason! If you own a small business, you recognize the power that your community has over your financial well-being. And if you don’t own a small business, it might be time to reflect on just how important it is to buy local, support local.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economies. 98.3% of businesses in our province are small, mom-and-pop shops that rely on the support of their communities. As Anita Cheng, Vancity’s Acting Director of Community Investment puts it, “Where we shop matters. The survival of small businesses depends on this and is the key to our economic recovery. We hope people will continue to embrace local and support their communities into the future.”
Simply put, small businesses make up a very strong majority of our province’s economy, and when we’re looking at economic recovery from the pandemic, the first place that we need to look to is our small businesses.
More money stays in the community. As the graphic above shows, of $100 spent in both a local and non-local business, $68 stays in your community when spent locally, versus only $43 when spent outside of the community. That $25 is in fact, crucial, due to the cascading nature of profits; that $25 goes to local professional services such as accountants or lawyers; it goes to local suppliers, local landlords, and to hiring more local employees. In a cyclical nature, the profits of these intermediaries are further spent with other local intermediaries, and so on. This means that your $25, while seemingly small, can actually benefit your community by 4–5x.
Local businesses keep local ties. And this is important due to a number of factors: if a local business is doing particularly well, they will most likely choose to hire more local employees or they’ll donate to a local charity. They’re also more likely to employ local professional services, purchase goods from local suppliers, and of course, pay more municipal taxes.
On the other hand, non-local businesses have stronger ties to the location of their headquarters or their main operation. In times of prosperity for these types of businesses, they are much more likely to hire and donate to charities from their hometown, as well as purchase more goods from suppliers in their native area. This means that you can feel good about your purchases when you choose to support locals, because you can be sure that when their business is prosperous, your community will be too.
Your community stays unique. Buying locally from a diverse set of unique retailers and restaurants means that your community maintains a one-of-a-kind experience; a destination. When you have a unique commercial & restaurant sector, you create a distinct image of your community — one that people can only find within. This creates a sense of pride, of camaraderie, of unity. And, these unique experiences create even more reasons for people to visit your community (when it is safe to do so).And, supporting local means that you encourage the creativity of local entrepreneurs, that you embrace diversity, and value the uniqueness of your community. Sure, chain restaurants are safe staples, but nobody got ahead by playing it safe.
Small businesses are the key to a thriving community. At Omnicart, we recognize that in order to promote small businesses, we need to empower the entrepreneurs behind them. In providing the tools, training, and support that people need to start and grow their own business, we’re committed to the development of a thriving local community. And it pays off. For Ryan Staley of Coastal Rides, it meant increasing the number of rides for his ride-sharing company by 400% quarter over quarter. For Darrin Campbell of Alpine Pub & Grill, our support meant expanding his customer base by 20–30% in a time of economic downturn. And most importantly, the profits from these businesses are being spent, and invested, in the development of their own economies.
P.S. Support Local BC is an amazing company that has generated over $400,000 in sales revenue for small businesses in BC since its inception at the beginning of the pandemic. Buy local, support local!