Moore: Don’t shop online, shop local

By Bill Moore

Spring seems to have lasted all of about 17 days this year, and that means summer is just around the corner. Many will be spending the next few weeks purchasing things for the summer and outdoor activities. People will be shopping for cooler clothes, replacements for the old lawn mowers and garden supplies. Supplies for the lake, beach or mountains will be on many shopping lists. Don’t tell the kids, but the back-to-school sales are almost ready to hit. Shoppers will be looking for bargain prices for everything from anti-gravity boots to zip ties. Like many, they will be turning to the internet for their shopping.

Vote for Vermont/Pat McDonald

Bill Moore, president of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce

Shopping on the internet is fun, convenient and very often results in some savings over items bought in a store. But before you turn away from local bricks and mortar retailers, I want to encourage you to all think of a very simple phrase: “Shop local!”

Why should you “shop local?” There are hundreds of reasons to do so, but the most important reasons are that by shopping locally you are supporting the local economy. You are supporting local jobs. You are supporting investment in the community. You are supporting the local businesses who face an incredible threat from retail giants who do not necessarily have your hometown in mind when they ship items to you. By the way, shopping locally is also a lot of fun.

Sure, pressing a few keys and clicking away can be easier and more convenient, and the deals are sometimes better than those in town. But how much are you really saving? (Spoiler alert: most money spent online never hits the local economy.)

According to the research firm Civic Economics, an economic analysis and strategic planning firm with offices in Chicago and Tulsa, for every $100 spent in a local small business, $68 stays local. Spending that $100 at a local branch of a chain store results in $43 remaining locally. That same $100 spent online sees virtually no money remaining in the community in which the items purchased.

Civic Economics looked at “the multiplier effect” of spending locally on retail purchases. An article published at the American Independent Business Alliance has the multiplier broken down into three parts:

  • Direct impact is spending done by a business in the local economy to operate the business, including inventory, utilities, equipment and pay to employees.
  • Indirect impact happens as dollars the local business spent at other area businesses re-circulate.
  • Induced impact refers to the additional consumer spending that happens as employees, business owners and others spend their income in the local economy.

Research shows that, on average, 48 percent of each purchase at a local, independent business is recirculated locally. The total impact of that local spending (direct, indirect and induced) is 68 percent.

Another factor that supports local shopping is that locally owned businesses tailor their inventory to reflect local purchasing practices. As a result, you are more likely to find what you are looking for locally. In addition, in Vermont, most local businesses are not part of a larger chain. As a result, the chances are good that you will find more unique and eclectic items locally simply by walking into the shops.

Local businesses tend to be much more service-oriented and responsive than their online competitors. They are looking for your repeat business and for your word-of-mouth referrals. As a result, local businesses greet you with a warm welcome and go out of their way to satisfy their customers.

So before you start searching the internet for the latest in fashion, furnishings and future purchases, take a look around at the hundreds of options available to you locally. You’ll be supporting your friends and neighbors, contributing to the local economy, and as an added bonus, getting a little healthier from walking around in the many great downtown and village shopping areas.

Bill Moore is president and CEO of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce.

Images courtesy of Bruce Parker/TNR and Vote for Vermont/Pat McDonald

6 thoughts on “Moore: Don’t shop online, shop local

  1. Baring my inner soul, allow me to broach the subject of tobacco sales via the www.

    Not many tobacconists in Bennington County, are there? In addition, their triple-priced stock is usually so stale and dessicated as to be un-smokeable and unenjoyable, which may titillate the anti-‘s to the point of peak pleasure but does nothing to please me. An internet purchase puts the fresh high quality wares of the rollers I have come to prefer on my doorstep in a week or less, and won’t put me in the poorhouse even with the sales/use tax vigorice which is what matters to the Montpelier Mafia.

    I’ve read comments on TN and VTDigger that would seem to indicate that those selfsame tax musclemen shop NH for their high priced booze. Am I missing something, or is there a different standard for the elected aristocracy? Leaving the Green Mts, the “Greenies” environmental loonies and relocating to a saner environment is looking more attractive all the time.

  2. I only shop local when I really need to, If I can wait a few days I’ll go on the internet do
    to the pricing.

    I have asked multiple time if the local retailer can adjust the price, the answer is always
    the same,” I can’t ” as we are just barely making a profit ??

    I buy name brand parts from other box stores that will discount 15-20% for the same
    name brand items how come they can do it ??

    So why can one business discount and other can’t, for us here in Vermont we all know
    Retail Space ( overpriced ) Business Taxes ( High) and now every worker wants a pay
    increase minimum ( $15 )

    That’s Vermont’s Liberal Tax Plan, Businesses can make a little or make nothing our
    Legislators prefer the later ……………. Business Friendly State, I don’t think so !!

  3. I live in a fair-sized college town where the only useful retailers are groceries, pharmacies and hardware stores. These are higher priced than internet offers but worth supporting in most cases. In addition there are service industries such as medical, dental, restaurants, barbers, and gas stations. These, by their very nature, require locality. But most of the business district is full of totally useless “gift shops” selling schlock or specialty shops with double or triple the internet price. No thanks.

  4. Your experiences with prices are a product of the Progressive taxation policies.
    Consider by shopping on line you are voting no to that idiot idea of $15/hour for a burger flipper.
    Any job requiring real knowledge and skills pays more anyway.Most of those jobs left Vermont years ago.

  5. I do try to shop local, but have recently experienced local prices for product I need to be up to 5-7 times higher in local shops than what I can buy the same product for on the web.

  6. Because Vermont is pro business and the shopping resources abound ,Not,if I’m in need of something and a local store has it I will make the purchase locally.
    However 8 times out of 10 what I’m in need of is not available locally,off to the internet I go.

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