EDITORIAL: Shopping local helps economy

How you shop – and where you shop – can make a big difference in your community.

Promoting the importance of “shopping local” is nothing new. We all benefit when local stores thrive.

This point is being driven home further this week with Think Local Week, hosted by Think Local First Victoria.

Think Local First is an initiative consisting of Greater Victoria business owners that aims to encourage residents to shop at local businesses.

About $4 billion is spent in retail sales every year in Greater Victoria, according to the Greater Victoria Development Agency. To make the point further, every $100 spent at a local store $68 stays in Victoria. That’s a big impact on our economy.

In addition, when only 10 per cent of our money is spent in Victoria, 25 per cent more of the money stays in Victoria.

Spending 10 per cent of our money in local businesses not only supports our neighbours and community members, but it also supports our city’s economy in general.

Despite misconceptions, buying local does not always mean paying more for products and services. Many local businesses are competitive with their larger counterparts in both price and quality of service. Do not neglect local shops –  do your research and think local first.

Locally-owned retail shops, services and restaurants depend on vibrant local communities to thrive. Most small, locally-owned businesses invest in the community, helping to give our towns a sense of place and belonging.

Frequently, it is the small retail person who is active in fundraising for local charities, for fire and rescue service, for local schools and in organizing holiday events.

Local retail stores and mom-and-pop stores, face tough challenges right now. Competition from big box stores and online sellers makes the holiday shopping season all the more important to locally-owned retailers.

So, how you shop – and where you shop – can make a big difference in your community.