First Liberty Bank is a local community bank serving the Oklahoma City area. Seeing our customers’ amazing businesses prosper makes us a big fan of shopping local and supporting the small and not so small neighborhood businesses that give our town so much character and economic stability.
“Shopping locally is extremely important to our economy in Oklahoma City,” said Joey Root, President and CEO of First Liberty Bank. “Local business owners and their staffs live here, pay their taxes, and shop locally themselves, making our economy ever more vibrant.”
The idea of “shopping” local, however, does not end at the small shops in your area. Shopping local is also a great idea for services.
“Banking with a locally owned, community bank like First Liberty can make a big difference as well,” Root added. “We know our clients, treat them as friends instead of as a faceless bank account, and work hard to help them succeed. In addition, First Liberty and other community banks are always strong supporters of the local community.”
With that in mind, there are a number of good reasons to wrap up your holiday shopping in your neighborhood this year.
Local businesses choose their inventory based on their customers’ shopping preferences. They are also more likely to choose things that you can’t find anywhere else because they cater to fewer customers and therefore don’t have to please the masses. You often find locally and regionally produced items that will not only make great gifts, but also funnel money back in that economy and represent your town or area’s culture. Think of local spice mixes, Native American art and more.
One obvious reason for great service in local shops is that small businesses need their customers’ loyalty to survive. However, small businesses are also passionate about what they do and often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers. The shop owners may also be your neighbors, have kids in school with yours, and care about their reputation among shoppers not only for reasons connected to their business’ bottom line.
Saves time and money
Considering travel time and fuel cost when driving to outlying shopping centers or big box stores to get the best deal, the few cents extra cents an item may cost at a smaller business is easily offset. Consider the shipping and handling cost when ordering online. So the super deal you thought you got often doesn’t translate into real savings.
The money stays in your community
According to the Retail Merchants Association, of every $1 spent at local businesses, 45 cents is reinvested locally. That means when you shop local, instead of the money trickling into an economy in another state or even country, these funds are used to buy goods at your neighborhood bakery, pay for childcare, a trip to the hairdresser and other services, or are donated to a local nonprofit – creating economic growth, new jobs and a healthy community.
It is great to be able to go to work near your home and earn a living wage. But did you know that small businesses are prime job creators in our country? Small businesses have generated 65 percent of net new
jobs over the past 17 years, according to the Small Business Administration. These jobs go may go to your friends, neighbors and relatives.
Investing in the community
Businesses owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future. They tend to give to local charities and may sponsor your child’s soccer team. Local merchants also tend to provide strong support to local artists and authors, creating further local economic impact, according to a 2002 AIBA Economic Impact case study.
But it goes even further taxes generated by a local business help build infrastructure in your community.
Local banks like First Liberty Bank strongly support small businesses with loans and other banking needs thus helping them grow and succeed. In contrast, the largest 20 banks, which command roughly 57 percent of all bank assets, devote only 18 percent of their commercial loan portfolios to small business, according to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation data, as published by the Center for Local Self-Reliance.
Keeping neighborhoods lively
Unique stores with distinct personalities are fun to shop and give your area its own flavor. It is great to be able to walk or drive to your neighborhood restaurant or buy a gift at the local gift shop. It keeps your area vibrant and lively.
All across the country groups have popped up to support the idea of keeping it local including Oklahoma’s Shopcrawlr and Keep it local OK. Local stores employ your neighbors, pay taxes that support your schools and improve roads, and contribute to local non-profit groups. Together we can improve the quality of life and strengthen Oklahoma City’s economy. So next time before you make a purchase, pause and Think, Shop, Buy – Local.