Posted on | January 20, 2015
Written by | Paul Santelle
Just after Christmas I was sent an article highlighting some hidden truths about buying at local stores vs. national or regional big box retail chains. Kimber Lanning wrote the story as an op-ed in the The Arizona Republic as a rebuttal to another writer’s attempt to put down the growing “buy local” trend.
The bottom line was simple: If you measure the “true cost” of doing business with most national chains, there is simply no reward for economies of scale. Numerous economic studies released over the last decade by recognized professional economists pretty much all concluded that an average of $30 more out of every $100 spent will stay in the local economy when money is spent with a local-based company versus a non-local corporate entity.
Further, it has been well documented that the national chain store model actually eliminates three jobs for every two it creates. The short-term consumer savings of money in a customer’s pocket for a day certainly doesn’t change the outcome of a community when the overall community’s economy is attached to a lead balloon that includes low-wage jobs, no health-care benefits, and no secondary or tertiary job market.
Hard Economic Truth
Economies of scale only work in a freemarket society, which we “actually” are not. Our food is subsidized—consider 80% of all farm-bill dollars since 1995 went to the largest 10% of America’s farms for commodity crops, which is why processed food is so cheap (think fastfood dollar menus)! Our oil is subsidized, our biggest banks are subsidized. And even chain stores are subsidizedincluding billions to Walmart—all using taxpayer money.
To believe in free markets in the U.S. is like believing in the tooth fairy. Americans actually have forgotten how the economy works and have no tools to measure the “true costs”—human, social or environmental—of doing business, and anyone ignoring these costs is being shortsighted and reckless!
Look around at low-wage jobs and the shrinking middle class. The corporate economy is failing the country, and our government is using our money to pay for it. One solution is to do business locally. Will it save our country? No. Does it empower people to make significant changes within their own communities and local economies? ABSOLUTELY!
The time has come for our State-based alcohol industry to pull together and create a BUY-LOCAL marketing plan incorporating newspaper ads, in-store merchandising and POS signage promoting the advantages of BUYING LOCAL, The bottom line is that buying local wines means saving jobs, lowering taxes and building a stronger economy— all of which will lead to a better quality of life!
It’s time to turn the tide and help shore up our businesses…