Why Buy Local (No Really)


I get to hear a lot of justifications about why people should "Buy Local".  Some of them are actually quite good. Tax revenue, keeping money in your neighborhood, supporting a growing community. Sometimes it's just a bullshit reason to drive up the price of something. Let's be real here, I love to support local businesses, but I don't think that the $7 I just spent on some fancy cheese is going to repave the potholes out front. I am notoriously practical and I have a slightly different view on why someone should make their purchases from a local business. Let's start with the total opposite. You know those late night ads you see on TV? The ones for the kitchen gadget that can deep fry a turkey and then turn it into a low calorie smoothie that the whole family will enjoy? Do you know what their business plan is? To successfully sell a product. Think about that sentence. They don't have to sell a successful product. It doesn't have to be well made. This is because they know a few things about you. A) If you buy their patented Turkey Smoother you will only ever need to buy one. B) If you buy the Turkey Smoother and hate it, statistically, you will not go through the hassle of returning it. C) You will realize the pointlessness of a Turkey Smoother after the return period has expired. They don't need to sell you five Turkey Smoothers. Just one. They don't care if you ever buy from them again.

Let's look at my business plan. My reach is not global. My reach is local. My reach is about as far as I can stick my hand out to shake yours. That is how I met most of you. I handed you my card. You have a friend that knows me. I was recommended to you by someone else. If my plan was to just sell one thing to each person I met  I'd be out of business in a year. By staying a local business I am holding myself accountable to those in my locality. This is because I can't afford to loose customers. I have to make a product that you are happy with. I have to make something so good that the kid bagging your groceries asks where you got it. I have to make something so good that you will tell him. That you will remember my name. That you will come back and buy again. That you will bring your friends with you when you do.

So that is why I buy local. It's not just to add to the revenue stream of a local community. It's because I know that the person I'm buying from really cares about what they are making. They care because they have to. They care because they want to still be selling them next year.