Did you know that if San Franciscans shifted just 10 cents of every $1 of their spending from chain stores to local retailers, they could add to the city’s economy nearly 1,300 more jobs and $200 million more in annual output? That finding comes from a recently released study on the Bay Area region’s economy. Furthermore, the majority of businesses in the Bay Area are actually locally owned, as opposed to non-local chains like Wal-Mart, Borders, etc.
A growing body of evidence suggests that locally owned businesses contribute to a healthier community because they put money back into the community, provide more and better jobs for locals, etc. That’s why SF city officials have declared next week, the period of Dec. 2-9, “Shop Local First Week,” and I think folks all over the Bay could follow their example.
We underestimate our own purchasing power and the decisions we can make as informed consumers. Next week, or any other time during the holiday shopping season, take some time out to think about supporting locally owned businesses in your community. Here are some resources:
- To find some locally owned book stores in your region, check out booksense.com. You can enter in your zipcode and a list of stores in your area will pop up.
- Powell’s Bookstore is the only large online bookstore that also has a unionized staff. They are based in Portland so its not supporting the Bay Area but it is supporting Portland and the labor movement!
- “But, Cheddar, nobody reads books anymore!” Fine. Then check out BALLE, the Business Alliance of Local Living Economies, a national network of locally owned businesses that are taking steps to create healthy communities across the nation. Visit their website and find some of their member businesses to support in your area.