The barometer of the stock market is the Dow Jones. Thirty corporations that measure how well, or how badly, American business is doing on any given day. Your local shoe store or bakery is not among them. There is no disputing that we are no longer a national economy. Over the past few years the USA has become deeply immersed in the global marketplace. So where does that leave the local “mom and pop” store down on Main Street USA? With the huge selection of “big box” products and services, are there really any good reasons to support the local merchant? I believe there are.

The “Made in Montana” Logo

One of the great things that The Montana Department of Commerce did was to create the “Made in Montana” logo to be used on products grown or produced in Montana. As you might imagine you have to jump through a few hoops to legally use the logo on your products. Here is the legal language:

Legal Notice: The Made in Montana, Grown in Montana, and Native American Made in Montana logos are registered trademarks of the Montana Department of Commerce. It is unlawful to use them without prior authorization or in a manner that is inconsistent with their stated purpose.

This simple logo gives your homegrown products a real advantage in the local marketplace. If you produce a Montana Made product take advantage of these logos and watch your sales improve.

Buying Local Is Good for the Environment

Even our local Wal-Mart store buys a lot of products from local producers. Everything local businesses purchase from local vendors reduces the amount of products that have to be shipped from distant places and saves gas. The money from local sales stays in the community, rather than being transferred out of state. Local money earns local interest, funds local loans, provides local paychecks, pays for local advertising and turns over in the community around 7 times.

Local Supports Local

Locally owned businesses traditionally contribute 250% more to local non-profits, churches and other organizations during the year, than big box stores. Big Box managers are often hampered by corporate policies. Printers, grocers and other local retailers are always asked to support, sponsor or contribute to local events and fundraisers. Most are always happy to help. You can make sure their contributions are always going to be there by supporting them with your dollars.

Local Business Is In It For The Long Haul

Local business owners live here, shop here, school their kids here, and pay taxes and own property here. They are more vested in the success of the community than the big box store. Denny’s Restaurant — gone. Burger Bob’s still here. Borders Books — gone. Country Bookshelf and Vargas Books, still here. Blockbuster Video — gone. Movie Lovers, still here.

Some Final Thoughts

When I purchase something, I first have to prove to myself, that the savings will be substantial before I buy the item in a big box store. But, even if I do eventually buy that item from a chain, I am still supporting the local employees that work there. The point is… do some shopping. Make sure you are comparing apples and apples and I think you will find, in most cases, buying local is just as economical as anyplace else. Give it a shot.