Think small, shop locally
I picked up a brochure about from a group called The Support Our Local Economy (SOLE) Coalition when I was visiting the Green on the Green Festival in downtown Worthington a few weeks ago. They have banded together with local businesses and organizations to create a Think Columbus First Campaign. I love this idea and think it would be so beneficial to have this in Delaware County.
The SOLE Coalition is basically a network of locally-minded independent businesses, organizations and citizens working together to promote “vibrant communities and neighborhoods in central Ohio.” Funded in part by a grant from the Columbus Foundation, SOLE is one of more than 80 local networks affiliated with BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies).
That’s how it’s all organized, but here’s the cool part: The group focuses attention on the fact that a simple 10 percent shift from purchasing from a chain business to a local business can create 5,000 new jobs in Franklin County. I don’t know who did the math on that, but it’s pretty darn impressive.
According to the brochure, and I would concur with what I’ve seen in the news and just seen in person, the Local Economy Movement is growing. The “buy/eat/live” locally philosophy is finally getting through to many folks. It makes sense, though, doesn’t it? When you buy locally, it keeps the money circulating closer to home which creates a ripple effect as those employers and employees spend your money locally. With corporate chains, quite a bit of your dollars are going out of town.
Think Columbus First is working with groups like Local Matters (a central Ohio resource dealing with local food); Simply Living (the leading central Ohio organization promoting local and sustainable lifestyle choices); Kemba Financial (the largest credit union in central Ohio); and ECDI (Economic and Community Development Institute which lends to small businesses and start-ups). These are some great resources and connections working together to create change.
Then there is the SBB program. The Small Business Beanstalk (thesbb.com) supports business and community growth and has devised an SBB card. You can use the card at a number of local businesses for discounts or special deals. Some Powell businesses have joined, so the concept is creeping north. You’ll have to check out the hundreds of merchants participating by neighborhood online because there are so many.
I am hopeful Delaware will soon see this kind of organized Local Economy Movement. In fact, it is already in the works with the efforts of many groups and individuals in town. But the more you are aware of it, ask for it and join the effort, the more our community will reap the rewards of an active and vibrant local, independent economy. I just ordered my SBB card online because the Mean Bean joined offering a second drink at half price … I’m in!
Tuesday Trippier lives in Delaware, is a writer and mother of four with a special interest in learning about green and local living trends.