Think Independently, Shop Locally Owned!

Shopping locally is one important way in which we can all support our local economy. Perhaps you’ve heard about the grassroots movement towards purchasing products and services from locally owned and operated businesses. Maybe you practice this yourself, or maybe you’re not sure why people are making a big deal out of the issue of shopping locally.

With the proliferation of big “box” stores and national/international chains, some people find it hard to understand why they should pass up the big savings and convenience offered by these large, corporate-owned businesses. In fact, data provided by over a dozen economic impact studies has shown that supporting independently owned business fosters a healthier local economy by keeping more of your dollar in the community where it is spent.

Support Michigan grown food markets, and find suppliers of organic fruits & veggies at: MARKETLINE: BUY LOCAL, BUY FRESH. Also support your local FARMERS MARKET. Here is a list of SOUTH-EAST MICHIGAN FARMER MARKETS. They have gudebooks, food glossary and tips for buying at market.

The Local First movement is growning, and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE) has played a large part in encouraging Local First campaigns across the country. Find out more about supporting the local economy at BALLE’s Local First website.

You can make a difference, now! Many people chose to support the local first movement by participating in America Unchained Day on Saturday, November 18, 2006. On that day, people across the United States made a point to shop only at locally owned businesses. Even though the day itself has come and gone, you can still take up the challenge on your own or with a group of friends. You may even discover that shopping locally is just as–if not more–convenient and fun than driving to the nearest Wal-Mart, Starbucks, or Costco in search of the items or services you need.

If you’re interested in learning more about supporting a local economy, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) has provided a helpful book list for further reading on the subject. AMIBA also has a long list of links to websites of organizations with similar goals. A recent article featuring Detroit area independent bookstores (including Book Beat) was featured in The Detroit Free Press. Read the article on local independents at: ESCAPE THE CHAINS: Browsing the shelves has added allure in independent bookstores.

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