We all know that shopping local is vital for our local economy. We don't just preach shopping local here at the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, we also practice it. In fact, it is core to our values as stated on our website: "Our policy is to shop and seek services locally before considering vendors outside of Hudson County. Further, we will consider conducting business with our Members first, before considering a local, non-member vendor." Over the years, we've shopped a number of our Members. We find it's kind of contagious!
Why do we shop local? According to Local First (see graphic above), for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $68 dollars will stay in the local community. That is, $68 will pay for local supplies and services, pay local wages and taxes, and be used to make donations to local charities and causes. Compare this to just to what happens when $100 is spent at a non-local business: only $43 will stay in the local community.
But it's not just about keeping dollars local, it's also about building a sustainable community. When we shop local we support: new immigrants (according to Fundera, 28% of main street businesses in America are owned by immigrants); our neighbors (nearly 8% of Americans own a local business); and unique and varied local products and services.
At the Chamber, here are just a few examples of how we shop local:
- Of course, we always host our events locally and among the locally-owned venues and local insitutions we've used: Saint Peter's, NJCU, Hudson County Community College, Liberty House, Liberty Science Center, Maritime Parc, Kolo Klub, The Ashford, Brightside Tavern, RPM Raceway, Mission50, and &Co., just to name a few.
- Supplies for events are almost entirely sourced locally. We've purchased flowers from Brennan's Florist, wine from Central Avenue Liquors and Sparrow Wine & Liquors, and chocolates from Lee Sims, as well as photography from JFoster Imagery and Marie Papp. We've purchased magnets AND stickers from Magnets.com and CustomizedStickets.com.
- Our staff and interns are locally sourced. We hire interns almost exclusively from NJCU, Saint Peter's, and HCCC. In fact, two staff members, Melissa Rosario and Arlene Ganess, are graduates of NJCU and SPU, respectively.
- When our staff goes out to lunch or for coffee, we try to keep it to locally-owned venues that are close to our office: Light Horse Tavern, Two Boots Pizza and Maggie's Farm Espresso are just some examples.
- Our advertising firm is locally-owned HarrisonRand Advertising.
- Our IT firm is locally-owned Singularity!
- Our printing was largely done by locally-owned H&S Graphics. They've since been purchased by a larger company and we may need to find another print shop.
- We are in the process of trademarking some of our branding and will be using locally-owned Genova Burns Attorneys-at-Law.
- We work with locally-owned Otterstedt Insurance to source our health insurance policy and locally-owned Nelson & Ward to source our commercial insurance policies.
These are but a few examples--the ones that come readily to mind. I should note as well that all of the above businesses are also Members of the Chamber! While we can't shop all of our locally-owned Members, we do try to spread the wealth to the extent that we can. And personally, I am have begun to do a great amount of my own shopping for products and services at locally-owned businesses. For example, I'm a client of Erin Kumpf Acupuncture & Herbs and Liberty Physical Therapy, also both members!What if we all did the same at our businesses, organizations, and personally?
What if we all kept our dollars local. Imagine what an amazingly robust and sustainable community we'd have! Please join us. I think you'll find that shopping local is contagious!