What does BUY LOCAL really mean for us here in Reading and North Reading?
Cities and towns that are committed to preserving their own unique businesses have significant advantages. Our one-of-a-kind businesses – where we shop, eat and play – are what make our communities home and make them different from any other in the world. Our local businesses offer curb appeal, have the potential to increase property value, and strengthen community pride.
The Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce launched its “Buy Local” campaign in 2011. The primary goal of this campaign is to connect consumers with our local independently-owned businesses and remind everyone of the importance of spending money locally.
Why support locally owned businesses?
- Revenue: Locally owned businesses return a much larger portion of their revenue back into the local economy compared with “big box” stores.
- Community: Support of local business ensures that vital community decisions are made by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those important decisions.
- Relationships: Local businesses owned by our families, neighbors and friends are more invested in our community’s future.
- Employment: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, hiring town residents and growing the local economy. Local independents employ an array of supporting services that can include contractors, accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, sign makers, marketing agencies and many others.
- Locally produced goods: Local retailers, restaurants and distributors carry a larger percentage of locally produced goods, creating additional markets and jobs for local producers and more wealth in the community. These jobs also tend to be higher wage positions with greater career potential.
- Investments: Entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their unique businesses and distinctive character.
- Tax revenues: Local businesses generate more tax revenue per sales dollar. The bottom line: a greater percentage of local independent businesses keeps your taxes lower (source).
- Culture shift: The ultimate goal for a buy local campaign is to create a cultural shift whereby most residents both:
- Identify themselves as “the kind of person who supports my local independents,” and
- View their community as one that supports local entrepreneurs and makes doing business locally a point of pride.
Keeping money local
When a consumer buys locally, significantly more of that money stays in the community. Research firm Civil Economics and the non-profit ILSR both have shown that dollars spent at local independent businesses return on average $45 or more per dollar spent to the local economy, compared with just $14 or less for $100 spent at a chain outlet.
In addition, chain stores typically obtain their supplies from “corporate” and employ staff members who aren’t always invested in buying local. In contrast, independently owned local business owners more often support and patronize other local businesses for both business and personal purposes.
Several times a year, Chamber of Commerce businesses in Reading and North Reading offer special incentives for townspeople to buy locally. These campaigns have been very successful for Chamber businesses and have spawned additional events such as Cash Mobs and “shop for a cause” days, in which local businesses donate a percentage of their earnings to a particular cause or non-profit organization.
We encourage you to patronize businesses that support your child’s sports team or your favorite theater group! Contributions from local businesses are essential to the survival of many groups and organizations.
Do your part to “pay it forward”
Help strengthen our economy and community by buying locally. The buy local movement is a circular equation. Small businesses support our towns with donations to numerous community organizations, but only thriving businesses can help in this way. Businesses will thrive if consumers spend locally.
By doing business with our neighbors, we create community cohesiveness and build valuable, trustworthy, and personal connections. There’s nothing like the knowledge and assistance we receive when we purchase a card from the local gift shop or paint from the local hardware store.
The Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce supports and hosts a variety of local opportunities for the business community.
- Opportunities include the Fall Street Fair, Small Business Golf Tournament, Holiday Tree Lighting Festivals and Shop the Block. (see Events Calendar )
- The Chamber also supports and promotes Small Business Saturday, Small Business Week and Independents Week.
- Chamber members who join the Buy Local movement can take advantage of our member-to-member discounts, a grassroots initiative to promote buying locally amongst our members.
- Membership in the Reading-North Reading Chamber of Commerce offers many advantages, helping you to build your business, visibility, bottom line and knowledge while contributing to the economic strength of our community.