By Tracey Hall
New Years Day brings a wealth of optimism and dedication to do things better in the year ahead. Jersey Shore Scene is dedicated to promoting our local businesses and would like to suggest adding one more resolution to your list. It doesn’t involve dieting or going to a gym. It’s the simple act of supporting your local community by shopping local more often. The Institute of Local Self Reliance composed this list of the top ten reasons on why it matters:
1. Local Character and Prosperity
In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.
2. Community Well-Being
Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.
3. Local Decision-Making
Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
4. Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy
Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.
5. Job and Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
7. Public Benefits and Costs
Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.
8. Environmental Sustainability
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.
10. Product Diversity
A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.