It’s hard to be believe, but the holidays are once again upon us. As you’re finalizing your celebrating and gift-giving plans, why not make a pledge to support independent, local businesses whenever possible?
We can’t forget that every dollar we spend has impact. When we buy from locally-owned, independent businesses, our money does more good for our local community. There are a lot of good reasons to buy local. Here are six of our favorites:
Money: When we shop local, money stays in our local economy longer and does more good. For every $100 you spend at a locally-owned business, an average of $68 stays in the local community. Compare that to just $43 for a big box store.
Jobs: Local businesses = local jobs. Small businesses are the state’s largest employer. They hire our neighbors, family members, and friends.
Charm: Local businesses shape the character of our communities. They make our places unique and interesting.
Climate: Buying local is good for the environment. It means less resources and energy were used to transport goods.
Community: Local businesses are more inclined to give back to the local community — think Little League teams, raffle donations, and charitable giving — because they are part of the local community. They donate almost 2.5x more per employee than national chains.
Trust: It feels good to do business with someone you know.
With every purchase you make, you can strengthen the Rhode Island economy. That’s a lot of power; wield it wisely!
If you’re looking to show some support beyond your wallet, here are a few ways:
Friday, November 25 is Plaid Friday. That’s right; we’re taking back Black Friday. Wear plaid to support your locally-owned, independent businesses. Share a pic of yourself on social media using #plaidFriday and #ShopIndieLocal with a few words about why you shop local.
Saturday, November 26 is Small Business Saturday. Remind everyone you know!
Tuesday, November 29 is Giving Tuesday. It’s a great time to make a few year-end charitable donations to your favorite nonprofit organizations.
Looking for some good options on how/where to spend locally this holiday season? We’re compiling a list of the local markets. (If your community is hosting a market that we’ve missed, please email email@example.com to let us know.)
October is Shop Indie Art Month. Local artists make our local places special. They help us reflect, observe, capture, provoke, mourn, and celebrate. They’re also a major economic force. By supporting local artists, you’re contributing to the local economy and the community.
Interested in local economies and investing? Come on out to our next Local Social at Apponaug Brewing on Wednesday, November 2, at 5:30 p.m. You’ll meet some fun people, drink local beer, and enjoy sparking conversation on the banks of the beautiful Pawtuxet River.
Apponaug Brewing is located at 334 Knight Street in Warwick. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. See you then!
This summer, Local Return is thrilled to have on our team two Learning Fellows through the Swearer Center at Brown University. Kiera Walsh and Kritika Shrivastava are working with us to mine research and data around community wealth, investment ecosystems, and economic self-reliance. They’re enthusiastic and diligent scholars, passionate about our future. Please welcome Kritika and Kiera!
Interested in local economies and investing? Come on out to our next Local Social at the Schoolyard Market at Hope & Main on Wednesday, August 24, at 5:30 p.m. The market features live music, vendors, and food and beverage trucks. You’ll meet some fun people, experience beautiful Warren, AND support a whole bunch of locally-owned businesses at once.
Hope & Main is located at 691 Main Street in Warren. It’s accessible by RIPTA #60 and just off the East Bay Bike Path. There is ample parking across the street in the Franklin Street parking lot.
Email email@example.com for more information. See you then!
From July 1 to July 31, Independents Month celebrates independent, locally-owned businesses and the community values they embody:
Their spirit of entrepreneurship, individuality, uniqueness, and character.
How they give back to our community with their time, talents, goods, and services.
How they fulfill community needs that make us healthier and wealthier.
Every $1 we spend has consequences. When we choose to buy from locally-owned businesses, our money does more good for our local community.
Independents Month is a good time to learn about what’s available locally, consider the consequences of your choices, and shift some of your spending.
Meet our Neighborhood Champions
Local people know their communities the best, and they know who and what make it special. For Independents Month, Neighborhood Champions (list updated throughout the month) are spotlighting local businesses they love in their places.
Sandra Enos, a recently retired sociology professor, has her own small business. Giving Beyond The Box curates gift boxes that feature local enterprises, BIPOC- and woman-owned businesses, Providence-based artists, and local farmers.
Sandra’s local champions are located in downtown Wakefield, Rhode Island. They are all within about 500 feet of each other. Sandra said, “Wakefield is really blessed to have so many exceptional businesses in such a small space.” Each of these businesses brings energy, vitality and community to the downtown area.
Brickley’s has been voted one of the best places for ice cream in the state. Sandra knows someone who has licked his way through all of their flavors over the course of one summer. (This is the kind of goal we can get behind. 🍦)
South County Bread Company is the newest arrival with a collection of wonderful breads, baguettes, croissants and sweets along with new inventions all the time.
The Contemporary Theater features theatrical productions, as well as a a vibrant improv community. They recently hosted the Ocean State Improv Festival which brought performers from New York, California, Minnesota, and elsewhere. They also offer classes for children and adults.
Duck Press features an eclectic menu and a small cafe atmosphere. It is a great place for a special dinner. Sandra says she has never ordered the same thing twice because their new dishes are always so tempting.
Thank you, Sandra, for being a Neighborhood Champion! Rhode Island, get out there and explore Wakefield.
Interested in local economies and investing? Join us for an informal happy hour on Thursday, June 30, 5:30 p.m. at The Guild Beer Garden by the Michael Van Leesten Pedestrian Bridge in Providence. You’ll meet like-minded people, drink local beer, enjoy the Providence riverfront, AND support a locally-owned business.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
From July 1 to July 31, Independents Month celebrates independent, locally-owned businesses and entrepreneurship. For Independents Month, Local Return is recruiting Neighborhood Champions to help us spotlight local businesses. Why? Because you know your community the best, and you know who and what make it special.
Our goal is to inform and inspire members of the public to learn about what’s available locally, consider the consequences of their choices, and shift some of their spending. We want to include a mix of business-to-consumer goods and business-to-business innovations.
Pick a community that you love. Hint: It could be a place (like Peace Dale, Riverside, or Pascoag) or a group of people (Black-owned businesses).
Tell us about 3-5 businesses that make your community great. Which businesses do you LOVE? Which businesses make your place vibrant and whole? The criteria: They must be independent (no franchises, please) and locally-owned (by someone who lives in or very close to Rhode Island). Photos are great!
Bonus points: Record a short video (0:30 to 2 minutes) with one or more of the business owners. Be as creative as you’d like, but here are a few suggested questions to ask:
Introduce us to (BUSINESS).
What’s your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?