Every year we open up 16 additional pages of Utah Stories to show our readers how they can shift their spending to locally-owned businesses and buy locally-made products. It’s clear that this practice can make a huge difference to our communities, economy, and the opportunities available for entrepreneurs, but it does even more than this—it makes a big impact on our local political sovereignty. (See article from Local Self Reliance)
A Local Economic Comparison
Consider the difference between the local economies of Draper and of Sugar House. Draper has a few locally-owned businesses, but far and away their local tax is generated by chain restaurants, chain big-box stores, and chain retail. The retail community is run by big developers and their cronies who maintain political power. Politicians like chain stores because they are supported by the capital of Wall Street investors. Also, the stock market keeps surging. But what do you suppose will happen to these chain stores and the tax revenue cities depends on when the market comes crashing down (as it always does)?
When corporate chains falter, How do you think Sugar House’s local economy will fare by comparison? Local shops maintain customer bases during recessions. Recessions can decimate places like Draper or City Creek Center, but they don’t kill strong local shopping districts. When small businesses own their buildings, they are much more resilient. When chain developers own massive shopping centers, they file for bankruptcy, blighting areas and driving down property values.
But I’m likely preaching to the choir. The greater question is: Why are so many Utah politicians giving out tax abatements, and huge incentives to big-box developers and chains, when there are so many studies pointing to the benefits of local first? Because they are serving those who pay for their campaigns. And only authentic local journalism can help curtail this practice.
For this reason every year, we strongly encourage residents to buy buy locally-made products from local shops. Plan your shopping by using Utah Stories’ local guide. This year we are organizing our guide into the following categories:
15th & 15th
9th & 9th Broadway (300 South)
Trolley Square and 700 east
Main Street SLC
Holladay Cheers (local spirits, wine and beer)
Pets (toys and services)
Utah Stories has doubled-down on our mission to provide authentic local journalism and maintain our story-centric business model. We are currently investigating two big stories, which will come out in November, that are guaranteed to to make waves.
Forward this to your fellow business owners and let’s have each of these shopping districts represented. We want it to look like this.
Other Buy Local Resources:
Besides This Let’s attend our City Council and Community Council meetings and fight for more opportunities for local retail and small business. Here are a few more resources: