Home » Why Local First

Why Local First

The question is perhaps best answered by Michael H. Shuman, author of Going Local. As Shuman writes, "Going local does not mean walling off the outside world. It means nurturing locally owned businesses which use local resources sustainably, employ local workers at decent wages and serve primarily local consumers. It means becoming more self-sufficient and less dependent on imports. Control moves from the boardrooms of distant corporations and back into the community where it belongs."

Significantly more money recirculates in West Michigan when consumers choose to support our locally owned businesses. Unlike their national competition, locally owned businesses regularly purchase from other local retailers, manufacturers, service providers and farms. Supporting our locally owned businesses is critical in growing a strong West Michigan economy and tax base.

SOURCE: Civic Economics - "Local Works!" Study, 2008. Commissioned by Local First

Small Change. Big Shift.

"Local Works! Examining the Impact of Local Business on the West Michigan Economy" — a 2008 study of Kent County commissioned by Local First — determined that just a 10% shift in consumer spending toward locally owned businesses would create:

  • $140 million in new economic activity
  • 1,600 new jobs
  • $50 million in new wages

According to research firm Civic Economics, when West Michigan consumers choose a locally owned business over a non-local alternative, $73 of every $100 spent stays in the community. By contrast, only $43 of every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business remains in the community.

For complete survey results, CLICK HERE.

It's Working.

In introducing the results of its 2012 Independent Business Survey, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance notes: "Independent businesses located in communities that have an active "buy local" campaign operated by a local business organization, such as an Independent Business Alliance or a Local First group, experienced markedly stronger revenue growth compared to those in areas without such an initiative."


Public awareness of the value of buying local is growing rapidly. 1,768 independent, locally owned businesses representing 49 states participated in the annual survey, including many Local First members in West Michigan. More than three-quarters of businesses said they thought public awareness of the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses had increased over the last year.

For complete survey results, CLICK HERE.

Find a Local Business