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Tuesday, December 6, 2011

My quest to invest

Shopping local is close to my heart for so many reasons. It hasn't always been that way; I mean, I liked the idea in theory, but I didn't feel it as deeply about it as I do now. Now - I am a bit obsessed.

I wish there was a way to help everyone understand – without being preachy - how important it is to try and shop local. Here’s my attempt.

Shopping local is a beautiful thing - the more we frequent our local stores, the more those stores produce the cash flow to bring in more choices, the happier the customers are and the better those stores do, the more inspiring it is to others to start small businesses to bring even more choices ... not to mention more jobs and money to our town. When you think about it, it can be a win-win for everyone.

I do understand that shopping local can pose certain challenges. If you don’t tend to shop local, I think it’s probably because of these three reasons:

1.      It’s cheaper out there.

2.      A diminished shopping experience.

3.      The unknown.

Let’s break this down.

1.       “It’s cheaper out there.”

 You may have the assumption that shopping local is more expensive, but is this always true? Let me bore you with a some fact and numbers:

·         68% of what you spend locally goes to your town.

·         sales tax is less  here

·         Gas to travel outside of town is expensive

·         Going to the biggie stores tempts you to buy more little extras since you are already out.

·         You will eat one or two meals on your road trip – not to mention buying snacks and coffee.

·         Everything you spend out of town goes hardly anywhere to support and enhance your own community.

Quick Math:
$50 spent on a local item =
$3.80 in taxes (7.6%) back into our community
$25 in retailer profit that goes into paying local employees and paying local bills including utilities, marketing, printing, supplies, etc.( local companies)

Extra retailer profits then hopefully go into other local spending or community donations.

2.       “A diminished shopping experience.”

 Let’s face it – getting out of town is sometimes a much-needed treat. I get it, I really do! I actually fall into this category the most. I love going to downtown Spokane and walking around River Park Square. I love me some Target … I could easily spend hours there. But here’s the thing. I REALLY love Newport and our community, and it’s for this reason that I’ve made it my motto to “Shop Local First!” That doesn’t mean I won’t ever venture out to the big stores in the big towns,but I’m just simply going to look here first. If we have it here, I will make every effort to get it here! I will Shop Local First! Give your local retailers a chance to WOW you!  You may be surprised by all our town has to offer. 

Here are some examples of how I’ve shopped local FIRST:

Last Christmas, I put Shop Local First into practice. Sure, I didn’t get everything here, but I started here and then finished up in Spokane and online. What I discovered is that I could find more here than I thought – and I knew this simply because I made the effort to check.

Back to school, I went to Ben Franklin first. I got all the basics and then some - then finished up in Spokane. Yes it would have been easier to just go to there first, but my $50 at Ben Franklin mattered. And that was important to me.

3.       “The unknown.”

The last reason I think we may not shop local is simply because many are unaware of all the “hidden” gems we have in our town. Try stepping into that store you’ve passed 100 times before but have never stopped to look. After three years I still have people coming into Shanty for the very first time.  I think Who Let the Girls Out has helped to bring awareness to what’s available here. And I love when people remark at how wonderful it is to have all these choices and quality products so close to home.

It is this last point - bringing awareness to what our community has to offer – that has inspired me to start Maggie’s Local Picks.  I love finding great things in our area and I’m excited to spread the word about all Newport and has to offer.  I love to see people surprised that I got it in “little ol Newport.”

I am so very glad you are still reading this. I was just about to conclude.J

As small business owners asking you to support us, shop us, enjoy us, it is even more important that we do the same. A very large number of the people who live here are small business owners. We can not expect our community to make the extra effort to shop with us if we are not going to, in turn, do the same...using the profits we make to put back into our town. We must support each other. 

I hope this has helped, made you think a little differently, or reinforced how you already felt about shopping local. Join me in my mission to Shop Local First!

  • Grab your friend or love and do a shop local day. Go out to lunch, go to your favorite stores and go to ones you have never stepped into. Enjoy the shopping experience. 
  • Check out  the 3/50 project  for another awesome way you can invest in the town you love.
  • Follow/Like ShopNewport Facebook to see Maggie’s Local Picks...I will be searching for those hidden gems for you and you'll also stay in the know of the many great things happening in our area. 
Thanks so much for listening!