Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility: Why is it important to buy from local independent businesses? Does it matter?


Michael Shuman, author of Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age, will answer those questions at a breakfast meeting of the Dane County Buy Local Initiative at the Concourse Hotel at 7:30am Wednesday, Oct. 5. Business owners, public officials and the public are invited. Advanced $20 reservations should made through info@wiscpsa.org 222-8708 by Saturday., Oct. 1.

Shuman asserts that local hardware, music and bookstores, pharmacies and restaurants face price-cutting competition and marketing power from chain stores that may look, sound and feel similar no matter where they are. But independents are banding together in cities across the country with “Buy Local” campaigns. In innovative partnerships that stress neither left nor right wing politics, they are finding common interests by promoting the value of patronizing locally owned establishments.

Local owners tend to give more to community-based non-profits. Dollars spent with local businesses tend to circulate longer within the local economy, adding vitality and diversity to the retail sector.

The Dane County Buy Local Initiative and Madison Originals, a network of local restaurants, already involve more than 70 businesses and are growing fast. To be launched in mid-October through Wisconsin Partners for SustainAbility, Dane County Buy Local’s new website and campaign will use the slogan “Friendly Faces…Neighborhood Places.” The sustainability group is also hosting meetings with local business leaders and municipal officials to build interest in a local economic leakage study.