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Shop Local

September 30, 2010

By Jennifer Chaky

Montclair, New Jersey is celebrating everything local and independent by kicking off Indie Retailers Week Oct. 2- 9. Enjoy in-store events, discounts, and exclusive promotions from over 80 retailers. Check out the calendar of events for some unique opportunities to help support the shop local movement! Come experience Montclair, a great town representing the benefits of a small, walkable, and diverse community.

Do you really know why it is important to support local independent stores? Well one reason is that approximately 45% of the money you spend in independent stores stays local through city taxes, employees’ wages, and purchase of materials and supplies at other independent businesses instead of going to some far-off mega-corporation that frequently is given tax breaks by the city they are in. It may seem that big-box stores employ more local people, but when you take into consideration that small local businesses tend to hire other local professionals such as architects, designers, cabinet shops, sign makers, contractors, accountants, insurance agents, real estate agents, computer consultants, attorneys, advertising agencies, and others you see that when you support local businesses, you are supporting more than just the folks in the shop! Local retailers and distributors also carry a higher percentage of locally made goods than the chains, creating more jobs for local producers and reducing transportation pollution.

When mega-chain stores replace more and more independently owned stores, town after town begins to seem like a cloned replica of some unimaginative corporate-structured model town.  Unique, individual communities are lost, and variety and diversity is in peril. We may think small stores offer only a small range of goods, but when there are many small stores, choice is actually increased when compared to the choices made by a few buyers working for a national chain.

For a long time our country as a whole has believed that bigger was better. But the fate of our future as a planet, and as communities of people will be saved by transitioning back to smaller, local systems. As energy costs soar and our national security becomes less certain, we will need to have local sources of goods and food in place and thriving. Going back to basics is not about going backwards, it’s about learning what is sustainable and what is not and being realistic about what works. It may seem like a small thing, but shopping local and encouraging local retailers to carry local goods will ensure prosperous, healthy, self-reliant communities throughout our nation.

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