Written by Katelyn Regenscheid, St. Olaf intern
When you live in a community like Northfield, local is a common term. Your grocer is local, your school is local, and your favorite ice cream shop is local. Engaging in your local environment is a major part of being part of a community like Northfield. We know local is part of our life, but why are we so encouraged to ‘shop local’?
As a consumer, you have a big say in the shape our economy takes. By supporting local businesses in Northfield, you encourage your friendly river town to thrive. Rather than supporting a large corporation, shopping local supports the unique small businesses of Northfield as well as the people they employ. Shopping local also keeps your money circulating within the community rather than sending it to some faraway CEO. In short, shopping local helps to create a vibrant and healthy local economy.
Small businesses also help preserve the local community’s identity. No chain store can truly capture the character of a small town; only those who live there fully understand the experience. Your community is represented instead by the varied products and services offered by local businesses.
Not only do local vendors better represent your community, they are also geographically closer to their customers. When shopping local, chances are you know whom you’re buying from. If by chance you do not, you will surely come to know the business owners with time. Staying closer to the business interactions helps forge ties between the local economy and your community.
Those who are involved in the community ultimately become its leaders. As they consistently interact with the people of the community as well as influence its economy, small business owners oftentimes emerge as leaders in the community. Rather than giving such leadership roles to large outside corporation, shopping local ensures the success and leadership of your fellow community members. Small business owners are inextricably linked to the experiences of their customers and the local economy, making them effective and strong leaders.
For more information about the community and economy of Northfield, head to the city’s webpage http://www.ci.northfield.mn.us/. You can learn about topics such as running business and financial service. Also, check out the Northfield’s visitor webpage for information on local shops and activities http://www.visitingnorthfield.com/. We hope to see you all out tomorrow at the Northfield Winter Walk!