Why Every Community In America Needs Locally-Owned Businesses

Friday, 2007-February-23 at 21:40 2 comments

Why we need small business – Part One « Poor Richard’s Printshop

See also: Part Two

In this series, PoorRichard makes the case for Georgia to become friendlier to the businesses that actually provide most of the job growth and support for local economies.

It seems that we are in love with bigness. Twenty small companies will tell the town council that they need to have the town start a loan guarantee fund, but the council will refuse. Then, one big company will come and tell the town council that they will build in the area if the town buys a certain property and sells it to them for a dollar. The town council will swallow it whole.

If that large company is a retailer, nearly all of the business they get is taken away from locally-owned or other locally-established businesses. Yes, that is correct, there is probably no net gain. They may spend a certain percentage of their sales on labor costs. Some of that will be for a chain of managers all the way up to the corporate office, but most of it should be local workers. When you look at the size of their revenue, you may realize that the profit and the upper management are sucked out of communities like yours all across the nation and possibly around the world.

Local businesses, with local owners, tend to recycle more of their revenue locally. Businesses with owners and managers in remote areas have to ship money from your community to the owners and managers are.

What this means is that it is better for your community to have local businesses with local owners and local managers supervising local employees than it is to have furriners, or non-locals.

I like the way Poor Richard puts it:

And what about Joe Consumer? Joe could support local business with his billfold, but he’d rather go to Home Depot than the local Ace Hardware franchise. Never mind that Ace Hardware provides jobs for Joe’s teenage son and all of his friends and sponsors half of the events in his town. His perception is that Home Depot is less expensive. Even small businesses, who should support one another, tend to forget the impact of local purchases. How many small restauranteurs have you seen shopping at Sam’s Club?

Here’s where America, The Beautiful starts playing and the tirade ends. If you’ve made it this far, take out your billfold or your purse, head to the local butcher shop, florist, or printshop and buy something. Tell them thanks for hiring your neighbor and sponsoring your daughter’s soccer team. And enjoy what you buy, ’cause you’re keeping a lot of folks like me in the small communities we love.

At a time when big businesses are trying to ship as much work as possible to remote nations solely because of a perceived lower cost for labor there, should we consider the implications that practice has for our next generation’s employment prospects? Do you have a nineteen year-old at home? Do you want to support him until his forty-fifth birthday? If your answer (like mine) is no, then buy locally-made products from locally-owned dealers in your local town or city whenever you can, even if it costs a little bit more to get products made by people that get paid a living wage.

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2 Comments

  • 1. NicoleH  |  Tuesday, 2007-October-02 at 12:08

    Nichiha USA, which was mentioned by Poor Richard, has begun commercial production at its new $100 million dollar environmentally conscientious manufacturing facility in Macon, Georgia. The Macon facility has created 80 jobs in Georgia with an additional 20 positions planned for 2008. The groundbreaking of the new U.S. plant, slated to open November 2007, demonstrates Nichiha’s commitment to the Southeast market.

  • 2. buy local gordon  |  Tuesday, 2008-December-16 at 07:03

    In my experience as a social worker, when you need to get someone a job to keep them housed, you go to the locally owned businesses first. They will usually hire someone that the big box stores don’t want.


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