The phrase “Shop Local” has become a familiar concept, but why does shopping locally matter? In small communities, like those of the East Mountain region, the myriad of benefits that come from shopping locally are far more visible. It’s more than local jobs, it’s local people. It’s more than businesses, it’s local choices. It’s more than convenience, it’s supporting your local community. All combined, shopping local is key to making life better for your family and your neighbors’ families. But how, exactly?
You probably know someone who works at a local business or have come to know them as a staple in your community. Local jobs are generally filled by local residents, meaning those employees are literally your neighbors. Typically, so is the business owner, who you probably see working in the business. All of them will spend good portions of their paychecks locally as well.
Then, there are the local purveyors who provide products and materials from their local business to other local businesses. They, too, are more likely to live locally and employ local residents. So the cycle continues. Link to Business Directory
Next, there are the gross receipts taxes that local businesses are required to collect on sales. A portion of those funds come back to the community in which they were collected. Those dollars are what a town uses to provide community safety, maintain roads, and support recreational opportunities. So, if you’d like to see more of those things, shopping local is the best way to make sure your town can fund them.
Every time you shop in Albuquerque, your city, town or village sees nothing from those dollars spent. In Edgewood, for example, an analysis by Nielsen Company’s RMP Opportunity Gap report, calculated local buying power at $454.5 million per year, but indicated actual sales during that same period were just $276.3 million. The difference of $178.2 million was spent elsewhere, most likely Albuquerque. That equates to a significant loss of tax revenue, about $1.3 million. Had those dollars been spent in Edgewood, those gross receipts taxes could have provided a lot of local services. Unfortunately, because of our proximity to Albuquerque, this scenario happens far too often and our local municipalities lose out.
Happily, we can be informed consumers and make a conscious choice to shop locally, to support our communities on the east side of the mountains. If you work in Albuquerque, don’t stop there on your way home from work. Instead, do your errands in your own community where your purchases benefit you and your neighbors. Share referrals to local businesses, there are far more here than you may realize. Share ideas for local options and think just a little differently before you get in the car and head west out of habit. There are even more obvious and tangible benefits of staying local, you’ll save time, save gasoline, and reduce emissions. You will typically have a more friendly shopping experience, too.
By: Linda Burke, Executive Director, Greater Edgewood Area Chamber