What do tourist guidebooks, historic main streets and vacation destinations have in common? They feature independent, locally-owned businesses run by entrepreneurs from our communities.
People are at the heart of both local businesses and their neighborhoods. People and local businesses shape the character and identity of a community.
Keep that Local Flavor
When a town or village shows economic growth, the big box stores arrive. Residents get excited about the short-term “we’ve made it” feeling.
But if a community doesn’t support local retailers and businesses, they become an endangered species. Locals spoke out when La Fiesta Bakery and Mesilla Valley Kitchen closed:
“Part of what makes Las Cruces, Las Cruces is these local businesses.”New Mexico State University student Henry Emery interviewed by Marisa Saenz for KFOX14
“It’s a shock to me to see a lot of these places closing down. It kind of makes it lose some of that small-town appeal.”Las Cruces resident Darius Norman interviewed by Marisa Saenz for KFOX14
In El Paso, Fox Plaza Barber Shop closed after 60 years in business. Customers say they’ll miss the history and memories the barber shop preserved on its walls. In downtown El Paso, Holland’s Department Store closed after 58 years. Both served residents throughout years of neighborhood changes.
Retail chains offer the same thing in every location. Their stores have the same set-up, products and branding, and don’t add to a community’s identity. They represent their national brand through their sameness.
The unique character of a community is its brand. The tagline “Keep Austin Weird” is Austin’s flavor and shows it’s pride and support of small businesses, their differentness.
Stimulate the Local Economy
Buying local keeps money within the community. Local businesses return an average of 3 times more to their communities than chain competitors. Local businesses also tend to source from and partner with other local businesses.
And you’re spending on businesses of, not just in, your community.
For example, you start a cycle when you buy Hatch chile from local farmers. Your dollars become their revenue. Their revenue pays taxes and buys supplies from other local businesses. Their profit enables them to shop in local stores.
Another cycle starts when local restaurants buy from local farmers. Restaurants create their products using chile. Then residents and tourists seeking authentic local flavors dine and spend money at local restaurants. Collected taxes from the farmers and restaurants go towards funding local services. And the cycle continues.
How Local Entrepreneurs Compete
Local businesses survive by competing and innovating like any other business. Healthy competition creates a diverse marketplace for buyers.
Unique local businesses also bring tourism dollars to the local economy.
Local entrepreneurs live within the communities they’re serving. This means they can better identify gaps and fill service and product needs. Chains, on the other hand, open a location because “the numbers” say your town will make them money.
Why You Should Continue to Buy Local
You make a public statement when you buy local. One that shows you care about (and invest in) where you live. It’s voting with your dollars. Caring about each other means supporting the ventures of our local risk-takers. Continuing to support them shows respect and a little bit of love.
Buying local also helps our environment by reducing the impact of goods transportation. Locally owned businesses also tend to operate in-town and in city-centers, helping to reduce urban sprawl.
Where White Sands FCU Members Fit In
You’re already doing this by being a member and part owner of White Sands Federal Credit Union. Earnings go right back to members in the form of higher savings rates, lower loan rates, and more services.
As proud members of our communities, we also give back in many ways. Check our Community Involvement page to see how White Sands FCU members and employees work hard to make our communities better by donating service, money, things people need, and by participating in community events.
Take a bonus step by following and engaging on social media with local businesses. You’re already voting with your dollars. Let others know!
Buying local benefits residents and businesses. It also feels good because it’s doing the right thing… people helping people.