Supporting local is more than consuming more


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 26/03/2021 (799 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

It’s hard to go a full day without hearing of local businesses doing it rough during COVID-19 lockdown. Last month we heard from Kate Fenske, executive director of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, telling us that we have lost 37 downtown businesses.

But why should we care? Large multinational companies will still: create job opportunities; generate property tax, income tax, sales tax and other government fees; and we will still be able to get all our basic needs met. So why is supporting local such an important issue?

There are a lot of reasons, but I’d like to discuss the most important, in my opinion: balance of trade.

Balance of trade is looked at commonly when we look at interactions between countries, but not as common when we look at flows and stocks within localities, and I think that’s a mistake.

When we view it from this level, the level of the community, what we see is something different. When we look at transactions at this level in multinational corporations we see a transfer of wealth from our local community to entities outside our community.

These same transactions at a local business look different. It’s still a transaction of money for goods or services, but that money stays in the local market — at least for a little while longer.

Economic development professionals call this the ‘local premium’, and it happens because local businesses use local agencies. Local shop owners employ local accountants, local designers, partner with local suppliers, and are also more likely to support local charities.

Now you might be thinking, “This is great, Steve, but how can I support local businesses when I’m struggling?”, and I understand — that’s why I have some suggestions.

First and foremost, buy local when you can. And while you’re at it, get to know the owners or the staff that serve you. It’s important for them to know the community is invested in their well-being.

If you can’t afford to buy local, try to make the neighbourhood safer and cleaner. No one likes walking with the sand, dust and garbage scattered from the spring thaw. Put your name forward to volunteer with a local residents’ association for their spring clean-up, or join a local safety patrol.

Most importantly, love your community. Remember that local business owners are here for the same reason you are — because they love this community, too.

Steve Snyder is a community correspondent for the Seven Oaks and Luxton neighbourhoods and chair of the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association

Steve Snyder

Steve Snyder
Luxton / Seven Oaks community correspondent

Steve Snyder is a community correspondent for the Seven Oaks and Luxton neighbourhoods and chair of the Seven Oaks Residents’ Association

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