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Power of Buying Local

By Tania Millen of SNCIRE

British Columbia's Buy Local Week, Dec 2-8, is just around the corner. Celebrate by buying your Christmas presents locally! 

When we buy products at a company that is owned, operated and/or situated in Northwest BC, we support our neighbours, friends and the regional economy. This intuitively makes sense, but sometimes it's difficult to understand the repercussions, so here are some examples.

The Kyahwood sawmill that just closed in Moricetown sells a product that could be bought by regional retailers such as building supply stores. However, the only buyer of Kyahwood products is Canfor, as apparently regional retail building supply stores have other suppliers – most of which are outside Northwest BC. This begs the question, 'If we (as local consumers) demanded Kyahwood products when we shopped at our local building supply store, could that have helped keep our neighbours in Moricetown employed?' Perhaps.

Here's another example. When you need paint for a house renovation or a new book to read, do you buy at the locally owned and operated store? Or the big box store? Usually we choose by price, right? But the smaller store can't purchase in as large quantities as the box store and often pays higher wages. So the local store sells product at a higher price, which often means that us consumers run to the box store rather than the smaller local business, thereby reducing the survival potential of local businesses.

There are many, many similar examples. Just consider the products that are available from local businesses and who they compete with. Then think about what your custom (buying power) means to those businesses and whether you would like them to stay in the region. Essentially, local businesses pay higher costs than box stores – from product to wages – therefore their selling prices are higher and as a consumer you end up paying more. But wouldn't you prefer to put an extra dollar in the pocket of your neighbour, than in the pocket of a corporate shareholder of a multi-national corporation? That's the power of buying local.

Thanks to LOCO for the info graphic below.