Thursday, November 26, 2020

Buy Local or Bye-Bye Local

It’s so easy to go to a huge online retailer, order everything I need, and have it show up at my door. Especially now when I don’t really want to go into stores in person. I can’t tell you how many times over the last few weeks I’ve loaded up my online shopping cart, only to abandon it again…

Because. BECAUSE. They don’t need my money. You know who does. I know you know.

Who doesn’t love a small business? I think we all want them to be here in the future.  Many local businesses have new ways of serving their customers. There’s online ordering, curbside pickup, delivery or shipping available. We’re all learning and adjusting. These entrepreneurs are out there, coming up with new ideas and working to meet the changing demands of their customers and the shifting landscape of regulations and guidelines.

It has been a trying year for everyone. If we each put a little time, effort and care into meeting our needs locally — as each of us is able to manage — our collective support of small businesses will make a big difference in our communities.

I’m not normally into resolutions and all that, but I am making the effort to get more of what I need from my neighbors who need my support. I won’t be giving a lot of gifts this year — it isn’t in the cards (i.e. my wallet), but those I do give will be from independent businesses.

One local business owner told me if they get seven sales a day, they can stay open. SEVEN. You don’t have to go all-out. Stay within your means. But if you can, get your dog’s food from the local pet supply store rather than that huge mail-order one, or your spices from the local grocer rather than that online behemoth.

Do these local purchases have an impact? 

You may have heard the statistics:

  • Money spent at local businesses generates 3.5x more wealth for the local economy compared to money spent at big box stores.
  • Shopping locally helps cut down on processing, packaging and transportation waste, leading to less pollution.
  • Local business generates 70% more local economic activity per square foot than big box retail. Local, independent makers are more likely to reuse materials.
  • If every family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 a month at a locally owned, independent business instead of a national chain, over $9.3 billion would be directly returned to our economy

* Source: Why Buying Local Is Worth Every Cent, Huff Post

But most importantly….


Where can you buy local?

I’ll be honest. Buying local can take more work than going online to a huge retailer, especially if you’re new to an area. Luckily, there are several great resources available for navigating local shopping in the Adirondack North Country.

SUNY Canton SBDC is proud to be partnering with ANCA and several other local organizations on the Buy Local or Bye-Bye Local Campaign. This effort focuses on the value of our region’s small businesses for our communities and our local economies and the power we all have to lift them up and help them thrive. Check out the campaign’s regular social media posts on Facebook, and stay tuned for local business radio spots over the next five weeks on Z106.3.

Thank you to SUNY Canton SBDC for leading this effort and to partner organizations and Z106.3 for promoting our local businesses during the holiday season.

There are other regional Buy Local campaigns and resources that can help point you in the right direction. Here are just a few:

  • • Adirondack Buyer Days catalog: a guide to independent businesses all over the region
  • • ROOST’s #ShopADK campaign
  • • Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce Save Our Locals campaign
  • • Other Chambers of Commerce
  • • Ask your friends and neighbors about their favorite local shops and products
  • • Etsy: if you aren’t finding what you’re looking for in your neighborhood, this is a great resource for finding independently-owned shops to purchase gifts from.

 The Country Florist and Gifts, Ticonderoga.

Thank you to Angela Smith of SUNY Canton SBDC and Dani Delaini of ANCA for their contributions to this blog.


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Lauren Richard is the artisan programs coordinator at Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA).

8 Responses

  1. Shane M Sloan says:

    I totally agree. And as a politically homeless American, I say we all need to be vigilant about not letting lockdowns ruin our small businesses. It all boils down to choices.

  2. Nora says:

    I agree and because I live within and manage a small building I always reach out locally but sometimes that just is not possible , I know places like Lowe’s and Home Depot can bring down their prices because they deal in bulk , that is not so with the mom and pop but also in al honesty and for instance I needed a large tall ladder , Home Depot wanted the ladder I needed for lets say $75.00 but my local hardware store wanted over a $100.00 for the same ladder , I went with Home Depot .

    Agree I agree the small business are hurting and we should support them but so are the regular folks like myself and don’t have the luxury of throwing that extra $25.00 away.

    I wish I knew what the answer was , I do however pray that this pandemic ends very very soon

    • Shane M Sloan says:

      The long term of saving the money now is that big box raises their prices without the mom and pop as a control measure when they’ve been put out of business. It’s a conundrum, for sure. Feeding big box and Amazon creates a massive transfer of wealth, not to mention the environmental impact of sending things back (often multiple times) simply because there’s no way to put hands on it before you buy it or even inspect the package for damage. We all talk a big game about the environment. I rarely see people backing it up.

  3. Ed says:

    Just look at the empty stores in most every town , Saranac Lake for example , lots of places for rent but how can you generate enough sales to pay all the expenses and have enough left to live on .

  4. Mark says:

    My wife and I frequently will pay more to keep my money local. It may not make a big difference to the shop owner, but we get a sincere “thank you”, with a smile! Corporate could care less.

  5. Vanessa says:

    For your holiday book shopping there is a GREAT online alternative to Amazon that I cannot recommend enough. I use to support The Mountaineer in Keene Valley, and you can use this website to support any local bookstore. Bookshop’s catalog is YUGE, and anything you buy sends money to your chosen shop whether they would have had the book in stock or not, I believe. It helps us buy local even when we are not geographically local 🙂

  6. Mark says:

    To Good Camp Owner: Thank you for the personal, nasty DM. Feel any better? Why are you so bitter?

  7. Joe Lavid says:

    I totally agree, so many local businesses have suffered due to the pandemic and a constant reminder to have people shop locally instead of the BIG box stores or purchasing everything online. Thank you for the friendly reminder!

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