You are the Face of Buy Local
by Brian Kingsley - Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

We cannot strengthen our local economy without working together as a team.

Your face and your name are the faces and names of “Buy Local.” We cannot strengthen our local economy without working together as a team. We recruit every day, and guess what?  We accept anyone who wants to join the team.

Let’s get back to basics about how all we consumers can help.  Let’s keep it very simple.  We’re already starting to purchase holiday gifts.  Remember, more than 60 percent of retail holiday spending is done between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31.  This year, big-box stores are starting even earlier than last year using online, television, radio and print ads to entice you and your disposable income to purchase with them.

We can all help our local economy grow stronger this holiday season and more sustainable for our future in simple ways.  All you have to do is spend 10 percent or more of your budgeted expenses at a local, independently owned business.  It really is that simple.

If you know nothing else about the localist movement, know that you need to “think local first.”  Support your local small businesses, the arts, the independents, the food-truck vendors, etc., as often as you can.

Your spending preferences and how much you spend directly affect our economy.  Remember Lesson No. 1:  For every dollar you spend with a local, independently owned business, about 73 cents remains circulating in your community.  Spend that same buck at a big-box store or large retail chain, and less than 43 cents of your hard-earned money will work for you in your community.

Last week, I wrote about the desire to see more local businesses offer layaway.  There was some positive reaction to that suggestion, but not nearly enough for all us consumers.  We need more options.  The big-box stores offer many, many options. To counter them, our community businesses need to become more creative and offer more options to the holiday consumers.  November is just a few weeks away.  We need those options now!

Start offering layaway.  Start offering specials.  One marketing school of thought that works if approached carefully is to remember that 75 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing.  So, find those products that have been harder for you to move off the shelves and offer them at an attractive discount.  Now, because people are buying.

I can’t stress urgency enough.  Our local independent businesses need to start taking action as soon as possible.

Are local business people on the streets handing out coupons every day?  Why not?  If you fear rejection, pay someone to do it for you.  Consumers love coupons.  We love discounts.

Most of us are still struggling after the end of the Great Recession when it comes to how we disperse our “disposable income.”  It’s almost a thing of the past for some. We are all consumers.  Most of us think along the lines of, “If you want my business, earn it.”  One way businesses can do that is by offering discounts.

For businesses:

  1. Offer discounts.
  2. Hand out coupons daily.
  3. Mark down your hard-to-move items.
  4. Earn the business of the consumer by going that extra mile to please.
  5. If you can’t meet your customer’s needs, refer them to someone who can.

For consumers:

  1. Think local first.
  2. Ask your local, independently owned business if it is or will offer specials.
  3. Budget.  Budget.  Budget.  We’re looking for you to spend 10 percent at local, independently owned businesses.
  4. If you are happy with your local purchase, post it on Facebook and Tweet about it.
  5. If you have an idea for local merchants, share it with them.  You’re the consumer!

Let’s make this a Buy Local holiday season.  When we work together as a team, anything is possible.

Last week, I promised you Chris Fowler and I would take you on a local fall tour.  The tour has been postponed for a week, closer to peak. A professor at Syracuse University said foliage will peak here about Oct. 21.  Chris and I know the fall hot spots, and soon you will, too.

IN THEIR OWN WORDS

Business: Quilts by Commission     

What it does: Custom Quilts

Owner: Stephanie McCall

Website: www.quiltsbycommission.com

Quilts by Commission FACEBOOK
Helping our friends and neighbors drives me to buy local.

I spend money on local products to help these business owners feed their families, pay their bills and grow our local community. All the Big Box stores have enough money.

For example, when you buy from Farmer Bill down the road, it helps him to get braces for his son.  Buying unique jewelry from Donna helps her to save so she can take that much-needed vacation.  These, and so many other examples, make spending more dollars locally worth my time and investment.

It is undeniable the benefits that you gain when you buy local goods, whether they be food items or not.  I think that if you are looking for quality, why not say “Made in My Hometown?” It has an even better ring to it than Made in the USA.

One more thing that keeps me focused on “the little guy with the big idea,” is the incomparable customer service.  When you buy from your local business, they go out of their way to assist you with that $3 sale.  Nothing is more important to a local business owner than loyalty and quality.

Quilts by Commission has been my passion for seven years.  I create and design original and traditional quilts, and accessories, including Art Quilts, for commercial and residential spaces. Size, shape, color, and texture are custom to my clients.  If you (or I) can think it up, it can be yours.  I produce one-of-a-kind items that are heirloom quality. I have a small team of talented sewing artists that help when orders are plentiful during the holiday season, and I trust their creativity and expertise in creating my vision for my clients. I work one-on-one with clients and give daily feedback, using pictures on my Facebook account, when working on a commission.

I do consultations to measure and create a plan for your quilt. Delivery day, just like the consultation, is exciting and gives me the personal satisfaction of knowing this is what I was meant to do.

Brian Kingsley is a marketing, advertising and promotions consultant and owner of GeoDux Small Business Services.  Email him at geo@geodux.com.