Buying local is, once again, a prominent theme in the 2014 Culinary Forecast from the National Restaurant Association. And with Small Business Saturday celebrating its 4th successful “Shop Small” campaign (consumers who were aware of Small Business Saturday spent $5.7 billion with independent merchants on the Saturday after Thanksgiving in 2013), shopping locally is a hot trend.
For consumers, spending locally keeps tax revenues in their communities and leads to booming local economies. During the recession, the a group of Grand Rapids, Michigan, small business owners emphasized buy local as a recession-fighting strategy; since then, the “local first” movement has spread across the U.S.
Interested in benefiting from the buy-local trend? Check with your community’s Chamber of Commerce or business development office to see if there is already a local organization your business can join. If you need to start the buy-local movement yourself, make sure your campaign educates shoppers about the benefits of supporting independent local businesses. Then get other local businesses to promote buying local in all their advertising and social media efforts. Plan shop-local events and distribute materials for the events, such as logos to use in signage or window decals for shop windows. Then invite local reporters and bloggers to attend and spread the word.
You can get valuable information from the LocalFirst.com website and the American Independent Business Alliance, which helps small businesses create partnerships to promote buying locally and. Also, check the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, which focuses on promoting socially responsible businesses and helping them prosper in local communities.