Shop local to invest in our community

Recently, I attended a meeting hosted by the Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce, facilitated by Peter Benkendorf, Dick Clough and Jack Ricchuito of The Cleveland Collaboratory, regarding the importance of championing local business and buying local. It was with a great deal of enthusiasm that business, private sector and community leaders came together to brainstorm implementing a local/regional campaign. Do you bank locally? Do you eat at a locally owned restaurant? Do you think local before Big Box? The way you spend your dollars affects the economy locally and regionally, which is directly related to job retention and creation, along with building a healthy, vibrant community.

It is calculated that if every person in Cuyahoga County would shift $100 of his or her spending to a locally owned business, it would add $126 million to the local economy. It is interesting to note that the economic impact of $100 spent locally is approximately 80 percent greater than if the $100 is spent at a chain.

According to a study conducted in Maine [Going Local: Quantifying the Economic Impacts of Buying from Locally Owned Businesses in Portland, Maine, by Garrett Martin and Amar Patel, Maine Center for Economic Policy, December 2011], on a dollar-for-dollar basis, the local economic impact of independently owned businesses is significantly greater than that of national chains. Analyzing data collected from 28 locally owned retail businesses in Portland, Maine, along with corporate filings for a representative national chain, the researchers found that every $100 spent at locally owned businesses contributes an additional $58 to the local economy. By comparison, $100 spent at a chain store in Portland yields just $33 in local economic impact.

The study concluded that, if residents of the region were to shift 10 percent of their spending from chains to locally owned businesses, it would generate $127 million in additional local economic activity and 874 new jobs.

There have been numerous other studies done that reflect the same basic conclusion.

The month of November is traditionally a time when businesses spend down their budgets and, personally, we all know the importance of sales the Friday after Thanksgiving and the amount of time and money spent looking for the perfect gift. I would like to challenge you to shop at the locally owned hardware store and grocery store; eat at the locally owned restaurant/diner; give gift cards from a locally owned eatery, spa, grocery store; consider a membership to a Cleveland museum or the Cleveland Zoo, tickets to the Cleveland Orchestra or a Cleveland performance venue; purchase a host(ess) gift from a local winery, brewery, candy shop or bakery. There are many local Cleveland artists where a one-of-a-kind gift can be found.

I think you know what I am writing about. Let’s begin now to invest in our community and region!

Anne Caputo

Anne Caputo, a Cleveland Heights resident, is owner of J.A.C. Business Communications Inc.

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Volume 7, Issue 12, Posted 10:11 AM, 11.18.2014