By buying locally produced food, goods, and services from locally owned businesses, we can stimulate our own economy instead of waiting for help to ride into town from... somewhere, maybe. We literally have the power to help ourselves overcome some of the economic problems that have been imposed on us by the unbridled greed of the financial markets, corporate incompetence and stupidity, and inept government.
Our collective power is huge and comes from our wallets. If we keep our money circulating within the community, it sustains and builds our own economy, not the one supporting all those mega chain stores, or the one supporting foreign countries like China. The guy who owns the fishing store, and the woman who owns the home furnishings store, are our neighbors. The money we spend with them has the potential to be spent again and again within the community. Money we spend at big box stores has little chance to circulate because it is quickly sucked out of town to sustain corporations and countries not the least bit interested in helping us maintain a viable local economy.
Volumes have been written about the impact on an economic area when big chain stores move in. The corporate spin doctors try to paint a positive picture about their presence, but numerous studies demonstrate deleterious effects on local business. For example, these outfits rarely use local suppliers, they don't purchase local financial and accounting services, and they tend not to use locally owned transportation and warehousing facilities. Bottom line - buying from locally owned businesses keeps our dollars moving from pocket to pocket right here in our own region. Here are 10 reasons to support locally owned businesses.
Reasons to Buy From Locally Owned Businesses
- Money spent in locally owned businesses gets spent at other local businesses, supporting economic growth at home rather than at big chain corporate headquarters.
- Community non-profit organizations receive significantly more support from small businesses than from large corporations.
- Locally owned businesses help define a place and give it a distinct flavor. The jillions of suburban shopping malls all look the same and have the same stores, but there's only one downtown business district and other unique shopping districts in any given city.
- Small businesses create more jobs nationally than big corporations.
- You almost always get better service from small local businesses. You almost always get crappy service in big chain stores. Some of them can't even ring up your purchases without a hassle.
- Local businesses pay local taxes, rent local buildings, and make use of existing infrastructure and public services. Local business owners live where they work and have a vested interest in making positive contributions to the community.
- Local businesses offer products and services related to community needs and desires. This results in more variety and innovation as businesses strive to attract local customers. Big box stores try to convince us we need whatever they are pushing, whether or not it really relates to anything we need or want.
A Sampling of Locally Owned Reno / Tahoe BusinessesHere is a short representative list of locally owned businesses in the Reno / Tahoe area. Just about anything available in a big chain store can be had from a store owned by our neighbors. My list is only intended to give you an idea of what's out there. It is not an endorsement of any particular business, nor is it meant to dis anyone not listed.
- Black Rock Pizza - Best in town, bar none.
- Dry Creek Garden Co. - Nursery plants suited to our climate.
- Sparks Hometowne Farmers Market - Largest farmers' market in the Reno / Tahoe area.
- Heritage Bank - Community bank.
- The Melting Pot - Counter culture store.
- Nevada Grown - Guide to locally grown food.
- Java Jungle & Jungle Vino - Downtown Reno coffehouse & wine bar.
- Reno's Riverwalk District - Fun collection of small shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
- West Street Market - Shops, food, and drink in the Riverwalk District.
- Scolari's Food & Drug - Supermarket chain.
- Scraps Dog Co. - Pet supplies and food.
- The Sleep Shop - Organic and eco-friendly bedding.
- Sundance Bookstore & Music - Independent, locally owned bookstore.
- Sierra Adventures - Outdoor outfitter and tour operator.
Finding Locally Owned Reno / Tahoe & Nevada BusinessesLiveLocalRenoSparks.com is a website promoting spending at locally owned businesses. According to the site, shifting just 10% of our spending to locally owned businesses would have a multiplier effect supporting thousands of jobs and spur a significant economic boost to the Reno / Tahoe region. LiveLocalRenoSparks.com lists businesses and non-profits under many categories with a searchable directory. Basic listings are free, but businesses can purchase enhanced listings and ads to promote themselves and support this effort to steer dollars into the local economy.
Another good source for listings of locally owned businesses are the membership directories for Reno / Lake Tahoe area Chambers of Commerce. Not all businesses are members, but the chambers are good places to look when seeking a particular type of business or service.
On a state-wide scale, Made in Nevada is a website with listings of the wide variety of businesses producing goods and services throughout Nevada. Check this out for more ways to shop while keeping our dollars working here at home.