Friday, April 8, 2011
Keeping it Local for your Home Improvement Needs
Petoskey, a small town in the northern Michigan is where I snapped the photo above. Not terribly far from Traverse City, a popular destination in the summer for mid westerners, this is the type of town where the local shop owners know their customers by name. The biggest department store is the local JC Penney, there isn't a big box store on every corner, but you can be sure that the local hardware store has helped generations of customers with their home improvement needs. If one of the hardware giants were to move into town, things might be different.
Earlier this week a homeowner I'm working with cited a statistic that really got me thinking about buying local for my home improvement needs. She told me that a study done by Chicago based Andersonville Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce shows that 68% of every $100 dollars spent in a locally owned businesses stays within the community. By comparison, only $43 of every $100 spent at non-locally owned businesses remains with the community. She then mentioned to me that one of our local hardware stores recently closed it's doors. The small family owned store had been in business for 62 years. They had two mottos: "Together we can Do-It-Yourself" and Free Advice and Popcorn with every purchase. You might save a few dollars, but can you get that kind of service at the local Handy Hardware Warehouse? Can you even find an employee when you have a question?
This weekend if you are planning any DIY projects consider using locally owned businesses for your supplies. In my city there is a website that lists businesses that are locally owned and operated, but your local Chamber of Commerce is also a good source of information. In my home town I found locally owned businesses to meet my home improvement and decorating needs in these areas:
Home Furnishings (new and consigned)
There may be others I missed, but these cover nearly any home improvement or decorating need I might have. Likely your own community has similar offerings. In these tough economic times, keeping your decorating dollars local helps not only business owners, but the economy of your entire community.
Is there a locally run business that you patronize in your community? I'd love to hear what sets them apart from the big guys.