Why Buy Local

Two stories yesterday reminded me of the importance of reminding others to Buy Local:

Unlike many lucky others, I didn’t grow up with an independent bookstore. I lived in Nowheresville, NJ, and it was either the (very small) library or the (45 minutes away) Big Box at the Mall, so I came to the indie business movement late. I was out of college, looking for a good job any job for a history major, and decided that a bookstore was the way to go. And after nine months at a chain, six of which I spent begging the local indie bookstore to hire me, I was lucky enough to get a job at Changing Hands Bookstore. CH is an amazing store and a tireless promoter of independent businesses in Tempe, AZ. But until I worked there, I had no idea what the difference was between spending your money at a chain vs. an independent.

Having worked indie books for years now, I forget not only that, once upon a time, I didn’t know the difference, but that everyone else may not know as well. In these hard economic times, it’s something that we can’t afford to forget, or overlook, or assume that others know.

So! Do you know why buy local? Do your friends and family? Go forth and spread the word: Vote with your dollars. Buy local — be it books or broccoli, hardware or a haircut.

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