As much as I hate to do math, let’s do a little. If you shop local, more than 51 cents of every dollar stays in Raleigh, compared with 13 cents if you buy at a chain.
Nationally, we each spend close to $800 on gifts and food during the holidays, according to the National Retail Federation. So if I spent, let’s say, $600 in Raleigh this holiday season, more than $300 would stay here. If I spent it at a chain, only $78 would stay here.
Jennifer Martin wants to show Raleigh the money. The money we’re giving away.
It’s Martin’s job to think about such things as the executive director for Shop Local Raleigh, formed in 2009, the brainchild of the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association. Membership has grown from 100 members to more than 500.
It’s all about distribution. If you buy from a chain, there are a lot of people who get a cut of your coin, including the CEO and a bunch of guys in the middle.
“Within the local community, the money goes to just one or two owners, maybe a few employees and then they’re usually renting space from a local place,” says Martin.
We all have to buy at the national stores for some things, though—like laundry detergent and Triscuits—and Martin gets that.
“We know it’s really hard to do everything all at once, but if each month we each shift just 10 percent, we’d add billions of dollars in tax revenue to our community each year,” she says. “Maybe it’s that cup of coffee every day or when you’re going out to dinner.”
Or buying gifts.
If you’ve ever wondered why the Raleigh Christmas Parade kicks off so early, it’s so independent businesses can kick off the holiday season. You rarely see chains in that parade, but you see a lot of locals, investing time and money in floats and freebies. Throughout the year, they donate to charities and schools with giveaways, their spaces and often their time.
They don’t just work here; they live here.
You can’t say the same for the big-box CEO and all those middlemen.
$20 on the 20th Means Big Savings and Local Rewards
Encourages shoppers to take $20 and spend it with a local merchant rather than a big box chain. Visit shoplocalraleigh.org/care-2/20-on-the-20th for a list of SLR merchants offering extra savings on the 20th of the month when you mention Shop Local Raleigh.