We often hear people say we must buy local, or support local business. Is this just a tactic these people use to get us to buy from them instead of their competition?
Sometimes yes, but let’s look at the underlying benefits.
Buying local really means supporting a local small business, and most often, a family-run business. Supporting these businesses means that the profits stays here, and gets spent here as well.
Non-local business are typically big chains with a branch in the area but their head office in a big city somewhere. Their profits are typically sent back to head office, where it is used or pocketed by the shareholders.
Sometimes buying local is not the right way to go, especially if cost or service is well off par with those offered by the big retailers. Other times the benefits of buying local is less obvious.
Take the Outeniqua and Sedgefield farmers markets for example. Buying from them definitely means buying local. Not only do you support these local enterprises, you also support all their suppliers, whom are local businesses as well. The market could easily have sourced products from outside the region, and might even have been able to do it at a lower cost.
In these examples an entire micro industry of small producers are being sustained simply through consumers buying locally. These small producers employ many locals, each of them again spending their income within the local economy.
Buying local has an impact that is bigger than the immediate business itself. In a typical case it is estimated that every rand spend at a local business is re-spent in the local economy seven times, via salaries, school fees, marketing, shop fittings, etc. On the other hand, every rand spent at a non-locally owned shop is only re-spend three times in our local economy.
We often say there little we as individuals can do to help support the local economy. Buying local is an easy way in which you can make a real difference. You are not only buying a product, you are helping pay school fees, pay home loans, put food on the table, make dreams happen, etc.