So far, the response has been great. People love this idea and are finding lots of easy and rewarding ways to make the shift. One person told us that he had moved his checking account to a local bank. Another said she’d decided to spend more of her entertainment budget going to local performances and supporting local musicians and artists. Still another said she had made visiting the Farmer’s Market a weekly habit.
This relatively small change in spending patterns can produce a big benefit for the region’s economy. If everyone in Greater Portland made the 10% shift, it would generate $50 million annually in new economic activity for the region and create 600 new jobs. (These figures are derived from studies in other cities and adjusted to reflect Portland’s size and spending patterns.) How is it that shifting just 10% of our spending can have such a big impact? One reason is that locally owned businesses buy more goods and services, like printing and accounting, from other local businesses. More money circulating in the local economy means more jobs.
“We’ve made the effort to buy local for many years. Currently, we buy much of our produce from the Farmers Market, all year long. We visits local, not chain, restaurants. We rent from VideoPort, which has one of the best supplies of movies; and then we visit Bull Moose for music. We really try to buy as much locally as possible. I can even say that we have not been to the Mall in several years. It is easier to do than people think. Start now!” — Linda, Portland
“We have been making an effort to buy local for almost 2 years now. My five-year-old son is even excited about it. Rather than Saturday trips to the mall or to a chain grocery store, we head to the Farmers Market. Whatever we can’t get at the Farmers Market we get from the Rosemont Market. We stroll through the Old Port and make a stop at our favorite coffee shop, Bard Coffee. My son loves going to Treehouse Toys to look around (and sometimes he has saved enough money for a toy) or stopping at Downeast Popcorn for a bag of Cotton Candy popcorn. We get ice cream from Beal’s or Mt. Desert Ice Cream; we shop at Bull Moose for our DVDs, video games, music, and books. We no longer eat at chain restaurants at all. Our favorite places to eat out are Local 188, Taco Escobarr, King of the Roll and Bull Feeneys, and we always love trying new Portland restaurants. I love stopping in for tea at Dobra and my partner loves shopping for his kitchen stuff at LeRoux. Buying local is a bit more expensive but in the end we know it is better for Portland and usually we get better quality for our money. Buying local is also a fun and exciting learning experience for my whole family!” — Lindsay, Portland
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