Why Support Your Independents
Tim Metcalfe, 4th generation grocer, spoke at the press conference during Independents Week 2015. He made a great case for why we, the buying public, should support independent businesses. He stated, “When you support us at Metcalfe’s, a local family business you don’t just support one local business, you support hundreds of local businesses with thousands of different products and thousands of employees, all living and working right here in Wisconsin.”
Along with financial support for local charities and community events, perhaps one of the best things that Metcalfe’s makes available is access. “For a small business to be a business, it needs access to the marketplace and Metcalfe’s provides that,” according to Tim. Because Metcalfe’s is local and believes in local entrepreneurship, Tim knows what it takes to get an idea off the ground and have it actually become a product. “We go out of our way to provide access to the marketplace and support our local vendors,” he added.
Tim went on to say that more than 3,000 of the 25,000 items in his grocery store are locally produced here in Wisconsin by more than 700 vendors. “For many, Metcalfe’s was their very first access to the marketplace,” he pointed out. Some of the local and Wisconsin vendors he named included: New Glarus Brewing Company, Sassy Cow Creamery, Pasqual’s, Quilter Cook (local scone mixes), Pan-O-Gold Baking Company, Clasen’s European Bakery, Dashelito’s (hot sauce), Babcock Dairy, Hook’s Cheese, and a new entrant in the market – Clean Fresh Food, an aquaponics farm in Belleville.
Tim asked, “Why is supporting local so important?” and then answered his own question. “The next time you buy a local product, or support a local business, you’re not just keeping the local economy strong, you’re putting people to work feeding their passion. But in the long run, you’re really making people’s dreams come true!”
There are so many benefits to us for shopping local which support our neighborhoods, communities, and independently owned businesses. Sometimes it's not always possible for us to buy what we need locally. And that's ok. We want to make sure that you know the importance of Thinking Local First!
The casual encounters you enjoy at neighborhood--scale businesses and the public spaces around them build relationships and community cohesiveness. (source 1, source 5) They're the ultimate social networking sites!
Reasons to Buy Local - Think Local - BE Local
Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns 3 times more money (source 2) to your local economy than one spent at a chain -- a benefit we all can bank on.
Shape Our Character
Independent businesses help give your community its distinct personality.
Create a Healthier Environment
Independent, community-serving businesses are people-sized. They typically consume less land, carry more locally-made products, locate closer to residents and create less traffic and air pollution. (source 3)
More efficient land use and more central locations mean local businesses put less demand on our roads, sewers, and safety services. They also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar. The bottom line: a greater percentage of local independent businesses will help keep your taxes lower. (source 4)
1. "Scale of Agriculture Production, Civic Engagement, and Community Welfare" by T Lyson and R. Torres, Oxford Journals, 2001. "The Configuration of Local Economic Power and Civic Participation in the Global Economy" by T. Blanchard and T. Matthews, Project Muse, 2006.
3. "Neighborhood stores: An overlooked strategy for fighting global warming" by Stacy Mitchell, Grist.
4. "Fiscal Impact Analysis of Residential and Nonresidential Land Use Prototypes" (pdf) – by Tischler & Associates, July 2002. Key findings:
Specialty retail -- primarily small neighborhood-located business -- generate a net annual return to municipalities of $326 per 1,000 square feet of store space. Business parks, offices, and hotels also generated positive net revenue. However, the infrastructure and maintenance costs generated by big box retail outweigh tax revenues, resulting in a cost to taxpayers of $468 per 1,000 square feet of floor space each year. Fast-food outlets were the most burdensome development, costing taxpayers $5,168 per 1,000 square feet.
5. In a study for the Small Business Administration, Business Contributions to Community Service (1991), professor Patricia Frishkoff of Oregon State University analyzed charitable giving by firm size. She found companies with fewer than 100 employees gave an average of $789 per employee in cash and in-kind donations, compared to $334 per employee at firms with more than 500 employees.