Each month the Business Development Committee of the chamber selects the topic of this article and a member volunteer to write the piece. This month, in consideration of the chamber’s “NEW” Buy North Idaho campaign, committee member Jack Powers discusses the many reasons that a “Buy Local” program can benefit a community. Thank you Jack for this month’s “Shining Star” article.
— Steve Wilson, President/CEO
Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce
The mantra to “buy local” is espoused in communities all across the country for many compelling reasons. To buy local means to nurture locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably. These businesses employ local workers and primarily serve local consumers. To buy local means becoming more self-sufficient as a community. Control moves away from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the hands of the community. When dollars are spent locally, they can in turn be respent locally, raising the overall local economic activity, paying more salaries, and building the local tax base which can lead to new or improved public infrastructure and local government services. This recirculation of money and economic activity leads to an increase of growth and prosperity that is directly proportional to the percentage of money spent locally.
One of the lesser known facts about buying local — the flip side of the “buy local” coin — is that locally owned businesses contribute significantly more to local charities and fundraisers than their national counterparts. In fact, in a case study of the economic impact of locally owned businesses on the local economy conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, charitable contributions made by local businesses were three to four times higher than made by national chain retailers. Historically, charities have long been devoted to improving the quality of life in our communities by helping the underserved, supporting the arts, providing adjunct educational activities and other support where government programs fall short of meeting the needs of the community.
Carol Peterson, president of the Cancer and Community Charities (better known as the 3Cs), a local organization that has raised hundreds of thousands in donations to help charities in Kootenai County for the past 50 years, confirmed that observation, pointed out that local businesses account for 90 percent of the business donations made to the 3Cs for support of local charities.
“The 3Cs could not exist and do the good work we accomplish in the community without the support of local businesses,” Petersen said.
She added that a healthy symbiotic relationship exists where local businesses support the 3Cs and in turn the community buys businesses’ services and products.
Gary Norton, owner of Silverwood Theme Park values community above all things and confirmed the benefits of the business-charity relationship.
“We are not an island,” said Gary Norton, “It’s our responsibility to help out our neighbors.”
The fact is local businesses are better positioned to respond to the special needs of the community and local businesses know that in order to be successful the communities they serve have to be successful.
In its mission to support local business and the communities, the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce recently launched its Buy North Idaho — Create Mojo (MOre JObs) campaign. It is asking that everyone in our community consider buying locally when making purchases or hiring services. It is an endeavor truly worthy of your support. Take the 360 Degree “Mojo” Pledge by going to www.CdaChamber.com/BuyNI.
When you are choosing services or shopping goods, remember there are two sides of the coin: the benefit of your purchasing decision goes much further than just your immediate transaction. Your choice affects not only your local economy but the quality of life in your community as well.
Filed Under: From the Chamber
About the Author: