Buy local, activists say

Tom Jackson
Mar 23, 2010


Much of what passes for economic development these days seems to consist of sitting around and waiting for Uncle Sam to bail you out, or demanding that politicians in Columbus or Erie County solve all of our problems.

I'm more intrigued by grassroots efforts, such as 10 Percent Shift.

The folks at 10 Percent Shift (and a related blog, Shift Across America) argue that making a conscious effort to buy locally can pay big dividends for the local economy. They ask for everyone to shift 10 percent of their annual spending budget from non-local businesses to local independent businesses to keep money in the community and help create local jobs.

This is obviously easier in some cases than others. There are no independent stores in Sandusky selling new books that I know of (although downtown has a nice used bookstore, Red Raven Books & Curiosities, and a place that sells New Age books, Midnight Moon.) If  you wanted to buy a new TV set from an independent local business, where would you go?

There are quite a few independent stores, though, and I generally like locally-owned restaurants better than the chains.

An FAQ section at the 10 Percent Shift offers suggestions on how to make the shift, including (1) Refinancing your mortgage with a local bank, (2) Buying your food from local suppliers, (3) Buying your gas from local independent gas stations and (4) eliminating credit card interest.

An Internet directory of local, independent businesses would be useful to this effort.



The people at this site make great points about buying locally. It's actually very easy to make this shift.

The easiest thing is food and perishables. Big ticket items such as TVs or Cars are not weekly purchases and generally have a limited effect on the local economy.

 We have great local farmers markets and local produce providers. Not only does this keep money local, but fresher food is healther for us than prepackaged stuff. This is the easiest step, and you wisely put it in your blog

 Something not mentioned is to ensure our service providers are locally owned and operated. Check where the plumber, electrician, or other provider is basedf. A national chain isn't going to help the local economy as much as a business based here.

. In the same tangent as above, use a local mechanic vs a chain.

  I try and Let the larger stores know of American and Ohio brands I prefer they use.

Tom, I agree that it'd be nice if there was a repository of information regarding local businesses and offerings. This seems a good thing for a centralized community news site to offer. A site, like, perhaps the local small town newspaper?

In the immortal word's of Jean Luc Picard: Make it so!