By Brian Depew, email@example.com,
Center for Rural Affairs
Buy local. It’s a well known strategy for small towns. Keeping your grocery money close to home keeps the grocery store close to home.
Economists tell us that every dollar spent at a locally owned business generates two to four times the economic benefit. But what if we take it to the next level? What if we “invest local” too?
The concept is an extension of “buy local” campaigns that urge us to capture the multiplier effect of commerce by keeping our spending money close to home. You already see it all around you in small towns. Often it takes local citizens to see opportunity where an outsider would overlook it.
In our hometown of Lyons, Nebraska, a new hardware and feed store went up on Main Street this summer. The owner and his family have run independent businesses in Lyons for two generations. It’s not a Menards, or a Bomgaars. Those companies would never build here.
My hometown of Laurens, Iowa, took it upon themselves to build a broadband network that delivers high-speed internet to every house and business in town. They didn’t wait for Comcast or Verizon to build a network. If they had, they might still be waiting.
Local residents, rooted in place, are often willing to take a financial risk to make their small town a better place. Imagine if more of us joined them, investing locally. Creating a vibrant future for your small town really is in your hands.
Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.