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Posts Tagged ‘buy local’

Not without honor, except at home

In Economy, Entertainment, Jobs, Local News, Opinion, State News, Uncategorized on October 9, 2013 at 9:45 am

DIH LOGOIn the Bible, the book of Mark, chapter 6, verse 4, Jesus says, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” The quote refers to the question of Jesus’s work being rejected in his own hometown. That was a couple of thousand years ago but, sadly, this same lack of local support and recognition is still rampant today.

We are constantly barraged by the pleadings by civic and business organizations encouraging us to “buy local.” But, when push comes to shove, even these organizations utilize outside resources more often than not.

The best examples of this kind of behavior are evident in the entertainment industry. I know dozens of performing artists, from musicians to specialty acts, who never seem to get work in their own home areas.

Most make a good living but will always have to travel, which is, of course, somewhat of a necessity for securing regular pay in that kind of business. At the same time, most of them offer much lower fees to work closer to home and yet are rarely taken up on the option in favor of “outside” help.

Someone out there is probably saying, “Well, maybe they’re just not very good.” There is an ignorance surrounding the concept that if someone chooses to remain in their home region, they must be less than expert at their particular job. If not, they’d have been moved to relocate due to excessive demand – untrue.

If these folks are as untalented as that statement implies, why would they have the opportunity to do so much elsewhere? An entertainer or other professional tends to earn far more money on jobs where travel and extended booking time is necessary than if they do a single project in their own community. So why would they be paid more and requested so often out of the region if their talents are less than ideal? The logic there makes no sense.

Take the country singing group, The Statler Brothers, for example. From the 1960s through the early 2000’s, these Staunton, Virginia boys sold millions of records, performed all over the world and yet never relocated from their home town. For more than 25 years, they even did an annual 4th of July concert there to raise money for local charities. And they’re not the only story like this.

Ignorance of local talent is not limited to the entertainment world, however. Other professionals are frequently dismissed in their own communities as well; that is unless they achieve some wider attention and suddenly discover people stacked like cordwood on their coattails.

The point here is that, regardless of the product or service needed, if civic and business organizations are going to practice what they preach, they need to utilize more local talent, and not just the big players on the block. Sadly, with so much “good-old-boy” nepotism at play, without some folks stepping outside the proverbial clique, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. When people do make the effort to connect with local providers, they tend to expect a lot of freebies or slashed pricing. That’s not only unfair, it’s downright disrespectful.

For example, say a chamber of commerce wants to hire a local printer to help with event materials for a charity fundraiser. Often, the organizers want to exchange the work for advertising or sponsorship credits rather than paying the printer’s quoted rates.

In most cases, local business will offer some kind of discount or even an exchange if given the opportunity, but it is disrespectful for the organizers to expect it. Your cause is not the reason the business owner opened his doors. Be prepared to pay for their services.

It would be great if small businesses, local entertainers and other professionals were more appreciated and supported in their home regions. The long term rewards to the community could be unimaginable.

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Buy Local, Should Be More Than A Slogan

In Business, Economy, Education, Health, Jobs, Local News, Opinion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on September 26, 2012 at 8:01 am

DEER IN HEADLINES

By Gery L. Deer

We hear the phrase constantly – buy local. But regardless of how much encouragement comes from public service announcements, most people still buy what they need from large, corporate chain stores. From toilet paper to breakfast cereal, local markets have always had a difficult time competing with companies like Walmart, Target and Meijer.

Since the start of the recession, local chambers of commerce and other civic groups have tried to get people to switch from big box buying to shopping at the locally-owned retailer. As money belts tightened, those messages were falling on more deaf ears than ever before.

Money in a particular community is a bit like blood in a body, it has to circulate to do any good. Money moves around a region from business to consumer and back, over and over again. That’s how the economic system works. Buying from out-of-town based companies moves the money out of the area. Buying local keeps more (not all) of the money in the community.

Many argue that they simply can’t afford to shop locally because of significantly higher prices. Others complain that local companies lack the product selection or expertise of larger merchants. A family struggling to make ends meet and feed a couple of kids can’t pay $4 for a box of breakfast cereal at a local vendor, when Walmart has it for $2. For them, every dollar counts and the extra five minutes they drive is worth the time and gas if it means there is significant savings at the bottom of the sales receipt.

Prices are lower at chain stores because of mass buying and selling. For example, for every bottle of ketchup a small grocery store sells, companies like Walmart sell hundreds of thousands more. It’s a simple matter of volume. A small business lacks the massive reach and bulk buying power afforded to big companies and therefore has to pay more for products, passing that higher price along to customers at the cash register.

Some small shops lower prices on one aisle, like on every-day necessities such as bread, cereal, soap, and so on, while keeping prices higher on extravagancies to counter the difference. Many already offer a generic alternative to most products or a store brand, the quality of which is often superior to the national offerings.

In the end, it’s up to the consumer to pay attention and do a little homework to see what’s out there and comparison shop. Most large, chain stores will price match nowadays. But nothing is more infuriating than to see someone in Walmart trying for a price match with a coupon from a local store offering a cheaper alternative. Why not just shop at the local retailer and get the deal they’re offering while keeping the money in the community?

Of course, it could be easily argued that big-box stores should be welcomed rather than refuted since they employ more people and pay more taxes to small communities. Valid points of course, but what happens when corporate decides to move the store or shut it down? The collateral damage can be economically devastating.

It should be emphasized also that this problem is not limited to groceries and sundries. Service companies like law offices, insurance providers, carpet layers and even accountants struggle to retain clients, even after years of service. These kinds of businesses are based on trust, relationships and personal referrals, concepts that may have escaped the younger generations who opt, instead, for the online approach or more “progressive” options.

Buying local needs to be more than just a slogan offered up by politicians in tough economic times. Government can’t and won’t save the local economy. It requires a joint effort between consumers and businesses. Consumers need to tell local retailers what they want; Retailers, listen to customers and take action to keep them.

Buying local strengthens a community’s economy against downturn and protects jobs. So, take your next shopping trip to the local grocer and phone your nearest insurance agent for a competitive quote. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and WDTN-TV2, Living Dayton business contributor. More at http://www.gerydeer.com

 

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