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Letter from the ED

Did you know that people who live in communities with a higher number of small, locally-owned businesses are physically healthier than those who live in communities where large corporations predominate?  A recent study by the Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society found that “counties with a vibrant small-business sector have lower rates of mortality and a lower prevalence of obesity and diabetes.”   The researchers attribute this difference to a couple factors:

  • Local businesses are more likely to locate in city centers and in neighborhood business districts, making these great places for people to walk and bike.
  • A “high degree of local ownership improves a community’s collective efficacy – the capacity of residents to act together for mutual benefit, to solve problems, and to further goals…to build initiatives and infrastructure that foster healthier choices and prevent disease.”

Isn’t this the type of community that we all wish to live in? And part of what makes West Michigan great? 

Don’t forget to support local businesses, this summer.  When you do, you don’t just build a healthy economy – you build a healthy community.  

Elissa Hillary
Executive Director

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