The following comes from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a national nonprofit organization working to strengthen independent businesses and local economies, and is reprinted here with permission.
Top 10 Reasons to Support Locally Owned Businesses
By Stacy Mitchell
1. Local Character and Prosperity
In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-‐of-‐a-‐kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.
2. Community Well‐Being
Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.
3. Local Decision‐Making
Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
4. Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy
Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.
5. Job and Wages
Locally owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-‐wage jobs and into the middle class.
7. Public Benefits and Costs
Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.
8. Environmental Sustainability
Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers-‐which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-‐term.
10. Product Diversity
A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
We always see businesses posting or displaying signs to “SupportLocal”, but how many of these businesses actually support other local businesses or organizations?
Do they use other local businesses for their needs, or are they using out of state companies?
Do they refer business to other local businesses, or consider them as competitors instead of partners and simply refuse to refer anyone?
Do they advertise with local media sources such as magazines, websites, radio, podcasts, etc. or are they advertising with media sources that are located out of state?
Are they a member of any local organizations or just a local Chamber of Commerce?
Do they respond to other local businesses or organizations that try to contact them for anything, or do they just ignore them or put them off?
Do they donate to local organizations?
Each week we feature a Business of the Week and also Spotlight our Sponsors. Those that truly support local are featured more.
If you know of a local business that should be on this list, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know why and provide a list of local businesses and/or organizations they support and how. We encourage everyone to visit the businesses on this list.
- Freedom Federal Credit Union
- Towne Grill & Pub
- McComas Funeral Homes
- Harford Mutual
- Four Seasons Landscape & Construction Services
- APG Federal Credit Union
- Jones Junction
- Saxon’s Diamond Centers
- Harford Bank
- Beacon Staffing Alternatives, Inc.
- Klein’s ShopRite
- Brad’s Farm Market
- Vagabond Sandwich Company
- Thompson Automotive Group
- Aberdeen Ironbirds
- Looney’s Pub
- 91.1 WHFC
- Chesapeak Shredding
- Elite Power Washing
- Mountain View Insurance Solutions
- Tar Heel Construction Group
- The Clay Monet
- Independent Brewing Company
- Boyle Buick GMC Truck
- Elite Home Entertainment
- Geneva Farm Golf Course
- Log Cabin Chocolates
- Community Foundation of Harford County
- Great Escapes Harford
- University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health
- Ferrell Fuel Co.
- Midway Liquors
- Sapore di Mare
- Music Land
- Harford Vineyard & Winery
- Bel Air Dental Care
- Serenity Salt Spa
- Full Circle Tire & Auto
- Ben’s Tire Sales
- Wine World
- Harford County Health Department
- 510 Johnnys
- Steen Properties
- Jones Family Farm
- Route 24 Ale House
- Decisive Data Systems
- Richardson’s Flowers & Gifts
- Coffee Coffee
- Newberry Café & Bakery
- Your Pet AuPair