John Willcox, President of Coastal Office Products in Chesapeake, VA offers an alternative to online buying for business to business purchasing – look local first.
These days, it seems TIME is the only commodity we can't buy on the web. But we do spend a ton of our time on the net in manic pursuit of the lowest price on whatever it is we're after, no matter what it actually costs us in time and costs our communities in hard-earned local dollars being drained out of town. Perhaps it’s time to consider a new paradigm in home and business purchasing that actually delivers the best deal:
Look Local First
I am not suggesting we all don our Birkenstocks and tromp down to the local farmers market to pay higher prices for local produce. (Well, yes I am, but that's not all) I am declaring that there is hard and fast data that proves buying from independent, locally owned companies is often a better deal for you, your company and certainly your community.
A 2007 study by Civic Economics comparing the economic impact of a national office supply chain's B2B division with a local independent office supplier, Wist Office Products, in the Phoenix area concluded,
“Wist produces 64% greater local economic impact per dollar of revenue than Office Max... Local suppliers generate dramatically greater economic activity than their chain competitors. In the case at hand, using the most locally invested of the national chain suppliers, one with a sizeable physical presence in the Phoenix area, the local firm generates nearly three times the economic impact.”
Hey, just because Staples says it has “low, low” prices doesn't mean your local independent office outfitter doesn't have the same or better prices. And money spent with a national chain sails away to stockholders all over the world. The dollars spent with a local independent retailer stay home and are re-circulated to benefit the local community. Keeping it local stimulates the local economy faster and better than any other means.
An economic study of the Grand Rapids, MI area concluded that just a 10% shift in local spending to local business would produce:
- 1614 new Jobs
- 53.3 million in additional wages
- 137.3 million in additional economic output
If a new business was opening in your region promising over 1600 jobs, your state would shower it with tax incentives, your governor would hold a press conference and the locals would pony up all sorts of infrastructure improvements.
And all you have to do to create the same effect, is choose to buy from a local, independent business whenever possible. Choose a locally-owned eatery just one in ten trips out. Have your business buy from a local office supplier, accounting firm, or network provider. Chances are you'll find the local's prices are competitive, the local's service is superior and your local community gets a huge shot in its economic arm.
So, spend less of your precious time in online pursuit of the lowest price tag, and trust a locally-owned, independent business as the best deal for you and your community.
Chances are your neighbor is going to care more about your success than a big box or online giant's stockholder. Does the president of Amazon really need another home in Aspen?