Buying Local is Investing Locally

Downtown Corvallis Oregon in the snow

Downtown Corvallis, OR – Winter Wonderland

Did you know when you buy local, you’re also investing locally? In the business, in your community and in yourself. I’m sure most of us know it’s good to buy from the local small business owner when we can but I don’t think most of us think of it as an investment. We should.

Here in Corvallis, Oregon, where Carts and Tools is located, our local business associations do a great job promoting the small businesses and the downtown area in general. We have a vibrant farmers market, cool shops, good restaurants and of course, excellent micro-breweries. They deserve our support as all local businesses, including Carts and Tools, struggle with the same competitive challenges and the same pressures from the large chain businesses.

“Invest locally”

One hears a lot of talk in our town about how can someone “invest locally?” The qualified investor has numerous options but for most people those options don’t exist. So how would one “invest” locally? Buying local is a good way to start.

Since 2002, Civil Economics has conducted a number of Indie Impact Studies comparing the economic impacts of independent, locally-owned businesses with that of their chain competitors. Here are the facts from the last one conducted in the Summer of 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • When you spend a dollar at a national retail chain 13.6% stays in the local community. Spend the same dollar at a local independent, 52% stays. 
  • When you spend a dollar at a national restaurant chain, 30.4% stays in the local community. Spend the same dollar at an independent, 78.6% stays.

Extra money in the local economy

What do these extra dollars mean to the local economy? They get re-spent and produce more jobs for local residents, extra tax revenues for the local government, more local investments are made and local non-profits are better supported.  In short, these businesses create better places to live.  Buy local, invest locally.  The return on your dollar is better than you know.

Carts and Tools is a local business and we do all that we can to purchase locally. Yes, we import our motors because we don’t have a choice right now. All of our steel parts are made. powder coated and hardened here in the WIllamette Valley. Our handles come from Missouri but we have the woodworking done here in Corvallis and would love to find a local supplier. We hire p/t college students and pay them 50 to 100 percent more than fast-food and chain stores do.

Selling nationally

Do we sell nationally, sure we do but for a different reason than a lot of businesses. First, we’re working to do our little part to re-establish small-scale US manufacturing. Could we manufacture off-shore and lower prices, probably, but we don’t. Secondly, we sell to small scale farmers who are doing what we believe in, selling locally. Our tools are designed to make the farmer who sells vegetables at a farmers market or runs a CSA  a little more productive and a little more profitable. That helps their local communities, wherever they are. It’s estimated that up to 90% of money spent on locally grown food is spent back into the local economy.

The bottom line is that by buying locally you are investing in local business. Maybe not in the traditional sense of the word; you don’t get stock but you do help create a vibrant community with a better quality of life. What could be better than that?


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