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Front Page » August 21, 2012 » Opinion » Buying locally helps you, help yourself
Published 848 days ago

Buying locally helps you, help yourself


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By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate publisher

A study done by a firm named Civic Economics, paid for by Salt Lake City, confirmed what most of us in business in the Carbon County area already know.

It pays everyone for local people to shop locally.

The report of the study came via the Salt Lake Tribune last Thursday when they reported that the study said independent, local retailers return 52 percent of their revenue to the local economy in Salt Lake as opposed to 14 percent that is contributed by national chains.

In the restaurant business, the proportion is even higher. Locally owned restaurants send 79 percent of their revenue back into the local coffers in one way or another while national chain eateries only contribute 30 percent.

All we can say to that study is, we told you so.

For years the local media, our newspaper and the radio stations in the area, have been running various kinds of "Shop local" promotions. We have told our readers and listeners time and time again that when they spend their money with local businesses, they get a return on it.

In the last couple of months the Business Expansion and Retention Program has been working closely with all of us on the "Did you know?" Campaign. Each week we run ads in the paper and the radio stations use that same information to promote businesses that bring returns to our area. Now some of the businesses we have highlighted are not owned locally, but have a big impact on our economy through wages, taxes and other services they buy locally. We have pointed out for many of the featured businesses the number of employees they have, what their tax contribution is, and the various other kinds of charities and events they support locally.

Yes it is a very good thing to spend your money here. It helps all of us. Yet we always hear from people who brag about getting a deal "over the mountain" on various kinds of things.

This county was built on the energy industry, and to this day we depend on it substantially. However, if one looks at the spin offs that buying locally provides, that part of our economy is as important as gas and coal.

When you buy locally you provide jobs for your neighbors, taxes for the county and cities and businessmen and women with profits they can reinvest in the local area.

What really gets me is when someone goes to Walmart in Springville or Provo to buy the same thing they can get here. Even if Walmart, K-Mart and others in our area are chains, the money you spend here at least goes to local taxes and wages, and not to a county upstate.

The worst culprit, however, is the internet purchases of items. I admit that often you can order things that we can't get here. Then do that. But to order something that you can get here to save a buck or two, even if the shipping is free, is like sticking a pin in your own little toe. No it doesn't cripple you, but if you do it enough, one day you will get a dirty pin and it will get infected. That is exactly what you do when you spend money on web purchases for things you can readily buy locally.

I have heard a lot of stories from people about their reasons for shopping outside the area. They range from they can't get the item they want here (which is believable with some things) to the line that the local businesses are greedy.

Well if trying to keep your business alive and make a profit at the same time is greedy, then everyone in the county who sells anything falls into that category. It is how business works.

And you can't tell me that when you go to a shop in Provo and buy what you could buy here, that the people running that business don't want to make a profit. They do and they love it when unique customers, from outside the area come in and buy stuff.

A majority of the money you spend locally circulates here and doesn't run off to some other place. Sure most items sold must be purchased by the business outside the area, but why not keep most of the profit on that product in the local economy? All of us, regardless of who we work for, are affected by spending that goes on outside Carbon County by local residents.

So the next time you decide to make a purchase outside the county, start thinking about the dollars you are spending that Carbon County businesses and workers need and could use.

Remember that the job you affect could be your own.

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August 21, 2012
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