Go ahead…buy local!

The phrase “Buy Local” seems to be growing in popularity lately and it’s easy to see why. With all of the negativity that is out there, buying locally seems to bring a positive feeling to many people. I think that is because it causes us to feel we have done something good for our community.

And we have.

When we buy local, it supports our communities. Studies show buying local has a chain reaction because not only are you supporting the business from which you are buying, you are also supporting the local businesses that business works with, such as banks and other service providers. If you are buying locally grown produce, it supports the farms around your community, which can keep an area from becoming overdeveloped. By supporting local businesses, you are also supporting community organizations. Most community organizations get the majority of their financial support from local businesses, so when you buy from local businesses, you could also be supporting community organizations such as Lions clubs, Girl Scouts, and Boy Scouts.

Have you ever driven through a town full of empty storefronts and seemingly abandoned (or completely abandoned) homes? There are a few not far from where I live, and it’s not a very pleasant experience to drive through them. Pennsylvania was once a booming industrial state and as the industries close or move elsewhere, the towns dwindle in size and economy. Hopefully, as the concept of “Buy Local” grows it will help these struggling towns. It’s going to take a miracle to bring back the industries, but we can start small shops and support the small shops that already exist in order to keep money in the communities.

One more plus about buying locally, it saves gas! Now, I know some folks live in the country and driving into town is just as far as it is to the nearest WalMart, but if you live in town, it can really benefit you. Even if you don’t live in town, local merchants often buy their products as locally as possible, so not as much gas is used in the transportation of the merchandise. I always thought I would want to live outside town, but now I live within walking distance of my bank, the Post Office, a pharmacy, a convenience store, and a few small restaurants and I love the convenience!

Now, why am I writing this as a crafter? I write this because most craft shows are locally organized and the participants could be your neighbors. Crafters are local businesses even if their storefront is an EZ-UP canopy. Most crafters have the “buy local” concept down pat, and even if some of their supplies are not purchased locally, they still put the majority of their money back into their community by purchasing other items locally. Also, most craft shows are run by local organizations. When the crafters pay their show entry fee, they are supporting local organizations, including schools. For this reason, I try to only attend craft shows within about an hour of where I live.

Spring is nearly upon us (thank goodness!) and as the weather gets warmer, I challenge you to explore your local businesses and community events. Spend a day with a friend hopping from town to town to see what each town around you offers. You might find something you fall in love with. Then spend a few Saturdays at local events, whether they are community days or craft shows. If nothing else, getting outside and walking for a few hours will be great for your health! These events often have fun things for kids to do, too! So that is my challenge to you…I know you can do it!

I’d love to hear what you do or would like to do to buy local and support your local economy. Please feel free to leave a note about it in the comments section. Thanks for reading!

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