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Local First Utah Blog

As more research is focused on independent businesses and the “buy local” movement, we’re continuing to see data driven support for what  we know to be true: Locally owned businesses make better places!

Thank you to The Institute for Local Self Reliance, a leader in localism, for the following excerpt from their new study

1. Places with a high density of locally owned businesses experience higher income and employment growth, and less poverty.

Counties in which locally owned businesses account for a larger share of economic activity are more prosperous, according to a new study by an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Using data on every U.S. county in the period between 2000 and 2008, the author, Anil Rupasingha, finds that local entrepreneurship has a positive effect on three critical indicators of economic performance: It increases county per capita income growth, increases county employment growth, and decreases county poverty rates. Rupasingha finds that this effect of local ownership is most pronounced when businesses are also small, defined as having fewer than 100 employees.

2. Small businesses make communities more resilient during hard times.

In times of economic distress, smaller businesses lay off fewer employees and bounce back quicker, according to a new analysis from economists at Yale University and University of Bristol.

Using data on U.S. businesses spanning 1979-2009, the authors find that, in times of high unemployment, small businesses both create and retain more jobs than large firms do, and they fully recover from recessions much faster than large companies do.

During the downturn of March 2008 to March 2009, for instance, the employment growth rate of large employers fell 1.65 percent more than the growth rate of small employers. This correlation remains consistent, the authors find, across firms of different ages and across several countries, and also holds when they control for the employment impact of new and closing businesses.

“Large employers on net destroy proportionally more jobs relative to small employers when unemployment is above trend, late in and right after a typical recession” the authors write. “Overall, this picture corroborates in part the common wisdom that small businesses are the engine of job creation: small firms appear to create more jobs as a fraction of their employment only when unemployment is high (which is, arguably, when jobs are most needed).”

3. Locally owned businesses encourage residents to put down roots.

One of a place’s greatest assets is its unique character, and another is its skilled residents. Luckily for cities, these strengths can reinforce each other. A recent study, published in the journal Sociological Spectrum, finds that the presence of locally owned retailers is one factor that leads residents to stay put. The authors of the study find that states with a greater share of locally owned retail experience a less-steep slope of people, especially college graduates, migrating out from their counties.

“Though locales that encourage or allow absentee-owned retail may experience competitive advantage in the short run, they will not hold their own in the long run—in this case, their own highly skilled workers,” the authors write. “In a globalized world, local places and regions’ spaces and establishments creatively infused with local flavor become one of the few resources that are not available elsewhere.”

Locally owned businesses also retain residents in another way: They create the kinds of jobs people want to keep. In another paper, two authors from Baylor University find that workers at locally owned firms, as well as at small firms, are more loyal to their employers than workers at absentee-owned firms or large firms. Using data from a nationally representative survey, they find that 56 percent of workers at locally owned firms scored in the highest category of loyalty, compared to just 39 percent of workers at non-local firms.

When they plotted the data on a 16-point commitment scale, the authors found that, together, small size and local ownership accounted for as much as a 1.7 point increase in a worker’s commitment to an organization, effects which held when they included relevant control variables. These strong ties, the authors write, suggest that local businesses are “lynchpins of community attachment and sustainability.”

These are just a few of the remarkable ways that locally owned independent businesses contribute to the strength and vitality of Utah’s economy and community. Join us in this powerful movement. Engage with Local First Utah by actively branding your business as locally owned. Create anEnhanced Listing, making use of the tools and resources Local First Utah provides. Or, help lead the movement by joining the Local First Leaders Circle. Each step we take, together, helps us create livable, thriving places to call home. 

Published in Local First Utah Blog
Monday, 30 November 2015 15:45

Shift Your Spending Week Media Coverage

It's been a doozey of a weekend, filled with press events, radio interviews and photo-ops, all in support of our Shift Your Spending Week Campaign. We're happy to report that our 2015 Shift Your Spending Week Campaign has received more media coverage than any of our previous campaigns. 

Educating the public through the media is one of our primary objectives, as it encourages people to recognize the difference they can make when they vote with their dollars. 

 

Here's a recap of this year's press coverage: 

Mural Encourages Shoppers to Support Local Utah Merchants - Salt Lake Tribune

A Push to Spend More Money at Local Stores This Holiday Season - Fox 13 News 

New Campaign Challenges Utahns to Shop Local - ABC 4

Utahns Urged to Shift Spending During Small Business Saturday - KSL 5

Zions Bank and Local First Utah: 10 Percent to Locals Means Billions to Economy - Fox 13 News

Local Retailers Encourage Utahns to Shift Spending - KUER 90.1

Zions Bank Speaking on Business with Chris Redgrave

KRCL's The ROI: Shift Your Spending

Published in Local First Utah Blog

 

In part one of this special blog series, we reported that two-thirds of independent businesses across the country experienced revenue growth in 2014. This great news was published in the 2015 Independent Business Survey conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

This week, we have more great news from the 2015 Independent Business Survey regarding how the “buy local” movement influences consumer behavior.

Local First Movement Drives Customer Traffic

Surveying more than 3,000 independent businesses from all 50 states, the 2015 Independent Business Survey found that independent businesses located in cities with active Local First campaigns are outperforming those in cities without such campaigns.

Outperforming. What exactly does that mean? By the numbers, reported in the 2015 Independent Business Survey it means that:

  • Businesses in places with an active Local First initiative reported an average sales increase of 9.3% in 2014, which is nearly double that of their counterparts in communities without a Local First initiative.
  • Retailers in these cities reported higher average sales gains at 5.7% compared to 4.2% reported by retailers in other cities.

Among survey respondents in cities with a Local First initiative, 69% of business owners  reported that the initiative had a positive impact on their business.

More than half of the businesses who reported that the Local First initiative in their community had a positive impact,rated that impact as either moderately or significantly positive. The key factor amongst those who reported a moderate or significant impact of the Local First movement on their business? Heavy marketing of their active participation in their community’s “buy local” campaign.

Repeatedly reported positive impacts of Local First initiatives include:

  • New customers (according to 51% of businesses)
  • Improved loyalty of existing customers (according to 49% of businesses)
  • Increased local media coverage of independent businesses (according to 54% of businesses)
  • Increased awareness & support of city officials for the local business community (according to 45% of businesses)
  • Increased overall traffic in local business districts (according to 22% of businesses)
  • Led to more collaborative environments, mutual support and increased purchasing habits between local businesses (according to 46% of businesses)

 

Locally owned, independent business in communities with active Local First movements outperform their counterparts because a vibrant, impactful “buy local” campaigns, like the one that Local First Utah works to create in Utah, influence consumer behavior and drive customer traffic. That’s the bottom line for us. We work to educate the public about the benefits of buying locally, in the hopes that your business will reap a benefit from our work.

But, we can’t do this on our own. The “buy local” movement will only succeed in Utah through our collective endeavors.

Join us in this powerful movement. Engage with Local First Utah by actively branding your business as locally owned. Create an Enhanced Listing, making use of the tools and resources Local First Utah provides. Or, help lead the movement by joining the Local First Leaders Circle. Each step we take, together, helps us create livable, thriving places to call home. 

Published in Local First Utah Blog

Each year, the Institute for Local Self Reliance gathers data from locally owned, independent businesses, to study the impact that the “buy local” movement is having on economies and communities across the country.  We at Local First Utah wait in eager anticipation for the publication of the Independent Business Survey, mostly, because it always brings good news.

This year was no different, and the 2015 Independent Business Survey demonstrates in a number of ways how the Local First movement is impacting bottom lines and communities across the nation. This blog is the first in a four part series regarding the ILSR’s important findings.

Independent Businesses Report Revenue Growth in 2014

Surveying more than 3,000 independent businesses from all 50 states, the 2015 Independent Business Survey found that:

  •       Two-thirds of independents businesses experienced revenue growth in 2014.
  •       Retailers reported that “same-store sales” were up 5.1% for the year
  •       Holiday sales were up 4.8% over the 2013 holiday season

These results were especially remarkable as based on U.S. Department of Commerce reports regarding overall holiday sales, independent business were ahead of many large retailers, including Gap, Inc, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble.

News like this inspires the Local First Utah team to continue working hard on behalf of locally owned, independent businesses all across our state! As we renew our efforts to spread the news about the benefits of buying locally, we ask you to join us in this powerful movement.

Engage with Local First Utah by actively branding your business as locally owned. Create an Enhanced Listing and make use of the tools and resources Local First Utah provides. Or, help lead the movement by joining the Local First Leaders Circle. Each step we take, together, helps us create livable, thriving places to call home. 

 

As always, please contact our Executive Director, Kristen Lavelett, with any questions regarding the Local First movement, by e-mailing her at .

Published in Local First Utah Blog