Shop Local

Commentary by Rick Heumann
April 2020

Recently, while going through some old files, I came across a piece I had written with an eerily similar message that sadly resonates today.

A little more than 10 years ago, in the midst of the Great Recession, I wrote about the importance of shopping local in hard times. At the time, large layoffs were occurring, and furloughs were becoming quite common. Even one of Chandler’s own prized companies, Bashas, had just filed for bankruptcy amid the economic panic and fallout from the burst of the housing bubble. Today, the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc throughout the business community. And that is why – more than ever — we need to keep a conscious effort to “Shop Chandler.”

While many storefronts have been forced to close to slow the pandemic’s spread, there are a few things we can still do to keep our local economy afloat. Many restaurants still offer pick-up and delivery throughout the city. Many have deals and discounts, so check their websites. If these were places you enjoyed and frequented when fully open, support them now in their greatest time of need. Additionally, many retail establishments allow online shopping and gift card purchases – a critical tool for them to maintain a small cash flow until we can safely and fully re-open and re-energize the economy.

Local First Arizona is a non-profit business coalition that represents about 3,000 small businesses in the state. Their website provides a terrific resource for its members and provides a great deal of information on the importance of shopping local.

Here are a few its reminders of why a local economy is vital to the community it serves:

  • National studies show that four times more dollars stay local when spent at community businesses versus large chains or online.
  • Local businesses tend to be unique, offer tremendous customer service and create a sense of place and foster community pride.
  • When you support a local business, you create demand for additional jobs across the state. How so? Because local businesses in turn do business with local companies in the community for products and services that they need to fulfill your orders and contracts. This “multiplier effect” creates and supports jobs throughout the state.
  • Local businesses are engaged in the cities and towns they serve and tend to be more conscious about their own impacts on the environment as well as the local economy. And, of course, shopping with local businesses that source their products locally leads to a smaller environmental footprint. 

I am convinced that when our nation, state and community emerge from this troubling time, we will do so confidently, and with the compassion and pride that has made this country great. In Chandler, our economy will work its way back to become the region’s leader in job creation and employment diversification. And, as always, our residents will continue to shop locally and support the local business community as we have for so many generations past, and for many years to come.