The money you spend locally today could be tomorrow’s investment back into the community.
That’s why a new initiative recently launched by the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association, Chamber of Commerce and Town of Ladysmith is encouraging residents to shift 10 per cent of their current purchases to local businesses.
“If our business community is healthy, then our community is healthy because it certainly has a ripple effect,” said chamber president Rob Waters.
In the coming months, residents can expect to see information about the 10 per cent shift regularly in the Chronicle and on local websites.
Information is also being distributed to businesses.
The 10 per cent shift not only represents a change in the places you shop, but a shift in perception as well, says LDBA president Jenna Forster.
“It’s about connecting community spirit to economic development,” she said. “These are the businesses that are employing your neighbours, they’re paying for your sporting teams, these are the members that are giving to every non-profit organization that comes through their door, and these are the individuals that are supporting the rhythm of this community.”
Ingrid James, owner of the Printingdun Beanery said she is one of many hoping the initiative will increase awareness about thinking local first.
“The money you invest in the big box stores does nothing for the community,” she said. “The money that gets brought into my store not only helps me spend locally, but it also helps me support the charities that are in town.”
Part of the reason consumers are taking their business out of town stems from a perception that they are getting cheaper prices elsewhere, but when you factor in the value of better service and the value of staying close to home, the cost differential is minimal, explained Mayor Rob Hutchins.
“People look for the value in their shopping dollar, but there’s such a value to the community that they live in by spending their dollar here,” he said. “All of our small businesses support so much in our community.”
Local businesses account for 30 per cent of the tax base, he added.
In an effort to measure the feasibility of making such a shift, Waters, Hutchins and Forster spent this spring tracking their purchases to see how much they were already spending locally.
“If you leave this community and go and purchase stuff, there’s the cost of fuel involved, there’s pollution in the air from your car … and if you really look closely in this town, there isn’t a lot you can’t get here,” said Waters.
For more information on the global 10 per cent shift movement, visit 10percentshift.org.