As a young parent you want to instill as many good values on your child to make them a better person now and when they leave the roost. On the moral side you teach them about compassion and how not to hate while the capitalistic angle focuses on smart investments for a successful and comfortable future. Within these lessons there should be one more piece of advice they need to understand – investing in their local economy. Whether it’s a farm producing grass-fed beef, a local retailer selling olive oil, or a vendor at the farmer’s market selling homemade soap, putting money into the local economy is one of the wisest investments you and your family members can make for the present and the future. Here are a few reasons why this is such a good idea.
Sales Tax Revenue
Are you happy with the low amount of property taxes you pay for your current home? If so, thank the sales tax revenue coming into your town. When you and your neighbors make purchases in your town, regardless if it’s a local business or big box store, a portion of the sales tax revenue goes into the local and county coffers. When business slows down due to a bad economy or closing of businesses, there is a subsequent reduction in the tax revenue. This is when town and county officials get together and start uttering phrases like ‘property tax increase’ and ‘budget cuts.’
A Thriving Downtown
There was a period of time between the late 1960s and the 1990s when many downtowns faded into nonexistence due to the construction of shopping malls and big-box stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Now, many downtowns are seeing a resurgence as more people decide to stay closer to home. While some of their storefronts are regional or national chains, many businesses in these rejuvenated downtown areas sell unique or homemade products. In my hometown there are stores that sell retro candy brands, numerous varieties of spices and olive oils, and regionally brewed beers. Because they are so unique, local visitors as well as tourists come and shop at them, even when the products sometimes cost more than at a department or hardware store.
For years your local supermarket has been the one-stop shop for groceries as well as health and beauty items. This is all well and good until you look at the ingredients used to make and preserve these products. By investing in local businesses you not only help their and the town’s bottom line, but you also invest in healthier choices. If you doubt me, visit your local farmer’s market over one weekend. In addition to farm-fresh eggs and grass-fed, non-antibiotic meats, you can also find vendors who sell homemade pastries, candies, gluten free mixes, and handmade soaps and shampoos. Again, a shampoo bar may cost more than the bottle of liquid hair wash you normally buy, but the health benefits outweigh the price, In the end you support a local vendor who returns to the farmer’s market on a regular basis.