Empowering Consumers – Strengthening Communities

Shop Local movement gets personal


By Kathryn M. Miller ~ Keep your money where your home is by shopping local. The idea is not new, and while it is gaining momentum, consumers may not be aware of the incredible power that they wield.

“Many people aren’t aware of the true price of their simple actions of clicking a button or answering the call of high-priced ads the national chains bombard us with every day,” says Melanie Tighe, owner of Dog-Eared Pages Used Books, an independent bookstore in North Phoenix. “One of the best reasons for us to shop local is purely selfish. The money stays in our communities, which funds our libraries, schools, street repairs, police and firefighters and so much more.”

In fact, studies have shown that for every $100 spent in a locally owned business, roughly $42 remains right here in Arizona, while for the same $100 spent in a national chain store, only $13 remains here. No one is working harder to spread that message than Local First Arizona and its executive director, Kimber Lanning.

Stock Photo“I know the work we are doing is making a huge difference here because people are responding to our message,” says Lanning. “I would love for people to become empowered with their money so they understand that their spending directly impacts the number of jobs and the quality of life in their own community.”

Shopping local is not only good for the economy, but, good for consumers.

“I believe one of the main things local businesses offer over chains is First Name Service,” says Tighe. “Our customers are not numbers to us and we’re not selling widgets. Not only do we know our products, we get to know our customers; their likes and dislikes, their families and friends.”

According to cardiologist, author and professional chef Michael S. Fenster, M.D., buying local is also good for your health.

“There’s a direct relationship between our food, our environment, our genetics and our health, says the author of Eating Well, Living Better. “Eating locally grown foods gives us our most nutritious meals, most flavorful meals. Few choices have as many personal ramifications.”

And personal ramifications are what drive Lanning.

“I want to build a more resilient and prosperous economy for Arizona that includes a strong and diverse middle class,” she says. “I am personally motivated because this is my home and I love it here – my entire family is spread out all over the state. We are Arizona people.”

Local First Arizona is celebrating the 12th annual Independents Week Sunday, June 29, through Sunday, July 6.The goal is to promote shopping locally and to build awareness of Arizona’s locally owned businesses. Learn more at www.localfirstaz.org. |CST

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