Shop Local Campaigns Work Says New Survey

by Joanne Steele on April 5, 2011

A post from one of my own favorite blogs, The Rurban Fringe highlighting a recent survey by the Institute of Local Self shopping for local foodReliance is well worth passing on.

This fact that Shop Local campaigns work to increase profits for locally-owned independent small businesses is important to note for rural communities.

There are Shop Local campaigns in major metropolitan areas all over the world and they help to sustain and grow the independently owned businesses in those urban areas.

But in rural communities, locally-owned businesses are about all we have. If they disappear, so does the town, for all intents and purposes.

So an effective educational campaign for local residents about shopping local is vital, and the Institute of Local Self Reliance survey can and should be an impetus for starting and growing a Buy Local campaign in your town.

I know of a number of very small communities who have set up and sustained a thriving effort thanks to the BALLE Network. That’s Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.

I attended a day-long seminar several years ago conducted by Michael Shuman, BALLE trainer and local economies expert, and realized that having the support of a nationwide organization is vital for small towns.

Shuman stressed in his workshop that shop local isn’t just about retail, which is often scarce in small communities. It’s about supporting local trades and services – all the locally owned businesses that do exist in each of our small towns.

Shuman also stressed, often and fiercely, that this is about education. It is not about creating a Shop Local Police Force to make everyone feel guilty when they buy school clothes at WalMart. It is about awareness that every dollar that IS spent locally has great impact.

For locals, it is also an awareness that shopping is recreational, and our visitors are leaving their local communities to enjoy shopping in our towns too.

The purpose of this post is to encourage you, local business owners, economic development experts and chamber members to check out the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and follow their steps for setting up your own Local First Network.

The survey shows how valuable it can be for you town. Being part of a network can get you the support and training you need to be successful.

Anyone have a good Local First story to share?

Yep. I’ve talked about Local First before. Here’s a perspective looking at its effects on your tourism industry:

How the Local First Trend Can Help Small Town Tourism Businesses Attract Urban Visitors

photo shamelessly borrowed from the BALLE Network site. Thanks


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