Last week, in a matter of something old, something new, and something borrowed (as in personal opinions), Yelp, the app that curates online user reviews, teamed up with Nielsen, which for decades has provided information about audience habits, primarily about TV watching trends. The marriage of the new and old was intended to locate which cities in America are best to find gifts locally. First off, the survey found that eight out of 10 Americans do plan to shop at local businesses for their holiday gifts.
And, more specifically and closer to home, in their list of best cities to shop locally? Bend ranked an impressive number 7, ahead of the imminently walkable Portland, Ore., by five slots (Portland, Maine, actually led the list), and, in fact, ahead of all other Pacific Northwest cities.
It is encouraging news. Financially, money spent locally generates a strong local economy. A 2012 study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance succinctly stated the impact, explaining, “Local retailers return an average of 52 percent of their revenue to the local economy, compared with just 14 percent for the chain retailers.” And, culturally-speaking, shopping locally and supporting local businesses encourages local personality to flourish, as opposed to the sterile, cookie-cutter model that creates businesses that are the same in Toledo, Ohio, as Talent, Oregon, (not that there’s anything wrong with cookies).
For this year’s Small Business Saturday issue, we provide a few suggestions where to shop locally as alternatives to national chains.