Our Local Communities Matter
Do you remember that old barber your dad used to take you to get a haircut? Or that old grocery store on the corner of the street where they always had your favorite soft drink or candy in stock? If you’re feeling nostalgic and look back on all the good times you and your friends had hanging out at that store, you have to wonder what ever happened to those neighborhood small businesses?
The sad truth is that local businesses are slowly disappearing from the American landscape. These local businesses may not seem like much, but for centuries, they have been a critical part of the US economy. Local businesses recycle money back into the local economy. Their taxes and the income taxes paid by their employees pay for government services, our military and help repay the US national deficit. Local businesses and farms provide a “ripple effect” which impacts more American jobs that provide them with supplies and goods for resale and services like utilities, waste removal, banking, legal and accounting. Small businesses, including local manufacturers and retailers, employ more people than large companies historically and build communities and support local medical professionals, teachers, police and fire fighters.
Local manufacturing, as an example, creates four to five additional jobs for every one job. Manufacturing requires support for research, other component suppliers, packing suppliers, caterers, bankers, accountants, lawyers, waste disposal, equipment and parts suppliers, engineers, computer services and utility suppliers, and that’s just to name a few. Local charities, community groups, religious and athletic organizations are, in part, supported by these companies.
Supporting local businesses and buying American made products keep our communities strong and will more rapidly help our economy recover than any other measure. Lee Leffingwell, the Mayor of Austin, Texas says “When you have a lot of small businesses, you have a lot of inherent diversity, and that inherent diversity helps insulate you from the economic downturn.” Local businesses often provide more personal and attentive customer support and are more likely to give back to the community because they live there.
Paying more for the product made locally may actually be a far better investment. So next time you’re going shopping, why not keep that old local hardware store from your childhood in mind, and support a local business?