I know I tend to go on and on about the importance of shopping locally, especially with regards to local book stores, but here’s an article in the San Francisco Chronicle about why it’s so important. Here are the important bits:
But the [San Francisco Locally Owned Merchant Alliance] is interested in more than a look at the retail world. It believes that nurturing this small-business backbone can bring more economic rewards than attracting an outside chain, which often hires fewer people and spreads less money around the city. Small business may be the best kind in many ways.
The city can often seem a war zone in the battle between big and little, with smaller retailers losing out. Storefront video stores, small pharmacies or one-screen movie houses are increasingly rare. Added costs hit small operators harder and low-price chains are tough competitors.
Yet the study found that San Francisco residents and visitors savor the city’s small-scale character. One example: local bookstores reap 55 percent of sales compared to 10 percent elsewhere in the country.
The study comes with a reasonable message. If San Francisco likes its local retailers, it should spend more at these favorite neighborhood stores and less with big operations.
Spending another 10 percent of your wallet at a sandwich shop, running-shoe store or florist could mean 1,295 more jobs and another $191 million in economic activity. Side businesses — lawyers, insurance companies, printers and ad firms — all benefit more with local businesses than chains operated from afar. The message is clear: It’s time to shop local.
This article in Bookselling This Week has more numbers about how much money spent locally stays in the local economy. The data really makes you stop and think.