Product Diversity and Local Business Support Networks: A Promising New Alternative to the Big-Box and Franchise Model of Retailing. Democratic Perspective’s Gary LaMaster and Steve Williamson talk about the benefits of buying locally with Meg Williams Jamison, Northern Arizona Director of Local First Arizona, Justin Ove, National Sales Manager for Arizona Stronghold Wines, and Kelsey Melvin, Local First Arizona’s Community Outreach Coordinator for Northern Arizona. As it turns out,those benefits can often outweigh the lower unit prices that are supposedly the great advantage of the corporate business model.
For example, local businesses keep more of our money in our own communities than large retail outlets like Walmart, or franchises like Applebees or McDonalds do. They also don’t require the tax breaks or infrastructure support large corporations extract from local governments in exchange for locating in our communities. Finally, because the local sourcing of the products they offer for sale is less energy intensive than transporting them from across the country, or across the world, they tend to contribute in the aggregate to more sustainable long-term economic development than the big box stores do.