Michele Hamilton doesn’t expect Greater Victorians to spend all their shopping dollars in local, independent businesses.
In fact, all she asks for is 10 per cent, but the result of that small commitment has significant implications.
“If families shift just 10 per cent of their year-round spending to local, independent businesses, that money circulates two to three times through the local economy,” notes the managing director for Think Local First.
Economic spinoffs: When you shop locally, those same independent businesses also tend to support local, through their accounting services, graphic design work, or website development, for example. In contrast, ‘big box’ stores typically have those and other services undertaken elsewhere.
Doing the math, shifting a portion of your shopping dollars to local stores just makes sense.
“We just want to keep the money in our community,” explains Hamilton, noting that “local” in this case reflects an independent business whose owners or managers on the ground in Greater Victoria make decisions for the business.
Local supports local: Similarly, local business owners are invested in their communities – they support local organizations, youth teams, events and more. “It’s the domino effect,” explains Hamilton, adding that in turn, she feels good knowing she’s helping keep these local businesses in the neighbourhood and growing.
Depth of knowledge: While some online stores may offer a cheaper bottom line, local, independent shopping offers something the online experience doesn’t: expertise. You can call on their depth of knowledge to select the right item or gift. Better yet, if you have questions after the fact, you know exactly where to turn!
So easy to shop locally: To help make it even easier for shoppers to find those local, independent stores, Think Local Victoria recently launched a free mobile app for Apple or Android that shows all 185 member businesses plus points of interest that make Greater Victoria a great place to live and visit.
“If we want people to think and shop local first, we need tools that make it easy and rewarding to do so – for residents and tourists alike,” says Paul Hadfield, president of Think Local First.
Think Local First is a non-profit society directed by a group of enthusiastic volunteers who are all small business owners in Greater Victoria. The organization encourages people to patronize local businesses to keep Greater Victoria a vibrant, sustainable community and make it a better place to live.