Column: Why shop local?


Commentary by Carrie Courtney 

As Noblesville continues to grow, there is surely no shortage of restaurants, strip malls and department stores to choose from for our meals and daily purchases. Whether you are looking to take your family out for a hassle-free meal, find a gift for someone special, improve your home, yard or garden, or shop for your day-to-day needs and wants, you have a choice. You can choose to be a consumer of local restaurants, shops and services, or you can spend your money at big box stores and corporate companies. Does it matter? Is there really a difference if you shop local?

• The community benefits and so do you. Eating, shopping and buying local supports your friends and neighbors. Your hard-earned money doesn’t get siphoned into some corporate account in another state helping to pay for a CEO’s third vacation home. Instead, shopping from locally owned businesses helps your neighborhood boutique owner, for example, use her revenue to get braces for her son, purchase a basketball uniform, or continue piano lessons. As a result, any profit made from your purchase is returned right back into your community schools and other local businesses. This economic benefit is referred to as the local premium.

In 2008, Civic Economics discovered that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 funnels directly back into the community, whereas only $43 does when it is spent at a nonlocal business. Why? Because local business owners are local themselves! Where big box stores outsource and pay out of state management and use national companies for their operation, local business owners:

Seek out local banking, accountants, attorneys, designers, food sources, office supplies and inventory.

Find local service companies for their maintenance, repairs, printing and advertising.

Hire local employees who are our friends and neighbors who also spend their earnings within our community.

Give more generously to our community schools, charities, fundraisers, churches and community nonprofit organizations.

Pay local taxes that support our schools and improve our roads (nonlocal big box stores can create an annual tax deficit of $468 for every 1,000 square feet. –

Reduce the global footprint by utilizing other local companies and services and local food/inventory sources, eliminating more long distant deliveries.

Convenience – Eating and shopping local saves you gas and time. This makes you more environmentally sustainable and gives you more time for the important things in life.

Greater sense of community – Local consumption keeps stores open, retail corridors healthy, and builds relationships while supporting your friends, family and neighbors.

You have a choice. Next time you go out to eat, need a service, or go out shopping … use your buying power and think local first.

Carrie Courtney operates Courtney’s Kitchen with her brother, Cass Courtney, at 654 W. Logan St. To contact her, call 773-2234.