Shopping locally dos and don'ts

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

What you’re about to read is my annual pre-holiday take (or rant) of shopping locally, but not just anywhere locally.

Being part of the Brazoria County small business community, shopping locally is very important to The Bulletin because local businesses tend to advertise more in smaller papers. Their health reflects our health.

Our product is information, and it is supported mostly by local advertising. Among the national retailers, very few advertise their products locally. Most of them pay a percentage of their monthly gross to national advertising.

Here is why it is important that you support locally owned businesses. It’s all about the money in your community.

“Dollars spent at community-based merchants create a multiplier in the local economy, meaning that from each dollar spent at a local independent merchant, $2 to $3.5 recirculates in the local economy compared to a dollar spent at chain-owned businesses. This ‘local multiplier effect’ means shifting more local purchasing to independent businesses is a key tool for creating more local jobs,” according to amiba.net, the website of the American Independent Business Alliance.

Independently-owned local stores tend to hire local architects, consultants, contractors, and so on to start a business, and they make decisions on how to market the business on a local level, not somewhere at corporate headquarters

“In contrast, a new chain store typically is a clone of other units, eliminates the need for local planning, and uses a minimum of local goods and services. A company-owned store’s profits promptly are exported to corporate headquarters. That’s simply good, efficient business for them, but not so good for our communities,” according to AMIBA.

Big-box chain stores may create hundreds of jobs, but they also tend to destroy about as many because of the nature of their business, stated AMIBA.

Independents have the flexibility of finding new products and trying them out. If the product does well, they reorder and create a niche. Then the big box brings in the same products at a much reduced price. And, the independent retailer that developed the market for the product is left holding the bag.

It is very important that we all shop locally first, but it is equally important where we shop locally.

If you need hardware, check out family-owned local hardware and lumber stores. If they don’t carry the product, then go to the big box stores.

If you need a plumber or electrician, look on your Chamber of Commerce’s business directory. That’s how I found a great plumber in Angleton.

If you like coffee, check out the independent coffee shops in your town.

If you like to eat out, include the locally owned restaurants in your rotation.

If locally owned and operated businesses don’t have what you need, then shop elsewhere in your community.

When you shop out of town, though, your sales tax dollars stay in that town. Your own town gets nothing. Sales tax is a big part of the income local jurisdictions rely on to finance things like police and fire protection, fixing streets and providing other services.

So, as the holiday season approaches, that’s the extent of my rambling this year on shopping locally, and where to shop locally. The rest is up to you. The more dollars you leave at your local stores, the more your city prospers. The more sales tax a jurisdiction can project, the less money it needs in property taxes.

I just got my property statement from the county. It’s not all that good. You all need to do some more local shopping.