Monday, November 27, 2006

Shop Local First

Hey Have Fun * Do Gooders--I've started posting over at WorldChanging: San Francisco about local WorldChanging happenings. I wrote the post below for them, but thought I'd post it here too 'cause Shop Local First Week is a national program.

Want to support local businesses in the Mission and save money? This holiday season the Mission Merchant's Association has designated December 4-6 as a time to Shop Local First in the Mission, and created a map and discount coupon that you can download and take with you as you shop.

Shop Local First is a program sponsored by San Francisco's Small Business Commission and is being facilitated nationally by the San Francisco-based BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. Chicago, Portland, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, and Washtenaw County, Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, Michigan are all participating.

If you're more of a downtown SF shopper, December 9 is Shop Local First Day. Forty local artisans and craftspeople will be selling their products out on Union Square, and Mayor Gavin Newsom will be there to present the 2006 Most Innovative Entrepreneur of the Year award.

If you are looking for a particular gift, check out the San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance's local business search engine.

SFLOMA also has a great list of 10 Good Reasons Why to Shop at Locally-Owned Businesses that you can share on your blog, email list, or with friends and family. Even if your readers don't live in San Francisco, shopping locally benefits their city, too.

1. Significantly more money re-circulates in San Francisco when purchases are made at locally owned, rather than nationally owned businesses: More money is kept in the community because locally owned businesses purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Purchasing locally helps grow businesses as well as the San Francisco tax base.

2. Most new jobs are provided by local businesses: Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally, and in San Francisco provide the most new jobs to residents.

3. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of our distinctive character: The unique character of San Francisco is what brought us here and will keep us here. Our tourism businesses also benefit. “When people go on vacation they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.” ~ Richard Moe, President, National Historic Preservation Trust

4. Local business owners invest in community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.

5. Customer service is better: Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise for better customer service.

6. Competition and diversity leads to more choices: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term. 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.

7. Reduced environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation and generally set up shop in town or city centers as opposed to developing on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

8. Public benefits far outweigh public costs:
Local businesses in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.

9. Encourages investment in San Francisco: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

10. Non-profits receive greater support:
Non-profit organizations receive an average 350% greater support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses.

Image credit: San Francisco Locally Owned Merchants Alliance logo taken from Cole Hardware's web site.

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