If you’ve spent time walking the streets of Doylestown in the past few months, you might have noticed the bright red and white banners that hang in independent storefronts displaying the words ‘Love Your Local.’ Last week I headed into town to investigate the campaign behind these signs. Nerice Kendter, owner of BusyBee Toys, happily shared that the Love Your Local campaign was inspired by the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association and The 350 Project.
The 350 Project is a challenge put forth by Cinda Baxter, a self-proclaimed media expert on small business, for each American to spend $50 a month in 3 independent stores. The idea is that if half of the employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned stores, it would generate $42.6 billion in revenue and as their slogan says, ‘save the brick and mortar our nation is built on.’
I know what some of you might be thinking — independent stores tend to be more expensive. But here are 7 beneficial reasons why Bucks County residents should love and protect their local:
1. Local business owners are invested in the community. They are less likely to leave a community and therefore, they will feel the impact of the decisions they make as owners.
2. Research shows that skilled workers are more likely to settle in communities that preserve their unique businesses and town character.
3. Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally. In some sectors, they provide better wages, and benefits than chains do.
4. Customer service is typically better in independent stores. If your purchase is damaged, you’re not just an order number, you’re a person living in the same community.
5. Statistics show that Non-Profit organizations receive an average of 350% greater support from independent business owners than they do from non-independently owned businesses.
6. Local shops have a greater tendency to offer American made products.
7. When you make purchases at independent stores, more money circulates in your local economy and enriches the whole community. Did you know that for every $100 you spend in an independent store, $68 filters back to the local community through taxes, payroll, and new purchases? For every $100 you spend at a national franchise in your town, only $43 comes back to the community you live in. And if you choose to spend $100 through an online store that is not based in your area, $0 will come back to your local economy.
Join me in taking responsibility for our Bucks County economy by supporting our local small businesses. Look for the Love Your Local signs in town or continue reading about our local businesses and events here at Bucks Happening.
Kristi Chester, a Doylestown native, is currently pursuing an MBA in Entrepreneurship at Delaware Valley College. Follow her reflections on education and business at thetrackrecording.com.