Go Local St. Louis Urges You to Shift Your Shopping!

Go Local St. Louis

By Terry Winkelmann,
Co-Founder, Go Local St. Louis

Go Local St. Louis, the new independent business alliance, urges you to shift your shopping this holiday season and think local first!

The group, which formed in September and already has nearly 100 members, promotes the idea of keeping your income circulating in your community by shifting your shopping to locally owned stores. By keeping your money where your house is—patronizing businesses that are owned by St. Louisans rather than out-of-town investors—more of your purchase dollars stay in the community. And that’s important.

As shoppers, Americans collectively spend a large portion of our annual shopping budget between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. When that shopping is done at locally owned, independent businesses, we generate 2 to 3 times as much economic activity in our towns and neighborhoods than if we had spent the same amount at a national chain.

Besides, when it comes to holiday shopping, a morning spent wandering boutiques in a place like Old Webster or Maplewood followed by lunch at a locally owned café is way more fun and festive than navigating the parking lot at the outlet mall. And there’s no need to stop at shopping–hire a locally owned service company to cater your party. Have a microbrew with dinner at a locally owned, independent restaurant rather than one that sends its profits to investors in another state or country.

Studies show that locally-owned independent retailers return three times or more money into their communities than chain competitors while locally-owned independent restaurants return twice as much per dollar of revenue to the local economy than chain restaurants. And buying remotely, via the internet or mail-order catalogs, creates almost no local benefit–just a few minutes work for a delivery person.

Increasingly these days, local retailers strive to stock more locally made products among their diverse offerings, chosen with their region, their market and their customers in mind—not the generic U.S. market.

The work of St. Louis photographers, potters, jewelry makers, seamstresses, knitters, weavers, and other artists can be found in local boutiques long after the craft show ends.
Artisanal foods, like honey from local bees, chocolates individually handcrafted by someone you run into at the neighborhood grocery, pastries baked nearby or a selection of indie teas and coffees are guaranteed to bring a smile to your recipient.

In this season of doing good and sharing, take a minute to consider the impact of your spending. You earned it. You’re going to spend it. Keeping it local will extend the value of your gifts, to your church, school and neighbor. Besides, nothing says “I love you” like a mass-produced, run-of-the-mill, disposable item sold by a company benefitting from corporate welfare, paying minimal wages to employees kept from enjoying Thanksgiving with their families.

For more information please visit our website www.golocalstl.org.