Buy-Local's Next Phase
Sustainable, organic, local, and ethical, (SOLE), articulates a movement that best describes the United States’ heightening interest in, and evolution towards, Buy-Local. (More)
Food and craft producers have effectively infused Buy-Local campaigns with simple messaging and humanistic visuals. Buying locally will make you feel better - inside and out. (More)
These campaigns have succeeded to the point where almost every major grocery store has an organic section in their produce department, which usually incorporates some rule of local origin. Many restaurants also tout locally farmed or produced food on their menus. (More)
The Buy-Local strategies first took hold in the food industry, but are now gaining momentum in the retail arena as well. National brands, such as Target and American Express, are incorporating these aesthetics into major campaigns.
It is time for business-to-business marketers to explore and employ buy-local concepts in their outreaches to customers, partners, and prospects. (More)
Supply Chain Management strategies use elaborate systems that analyze benefits and cost efficiencies when making purchasing decisions. Critical factors in such strategies relate to supply chain sustainability - which focuses heavily on social, environmental, and local economic impact issues.
Buy-Local tactics seem to be an under-used tool for businesses hungry for growth as this stubborn economy creates new opportunities. Today, China, and other foreign manufacturing centers, are not always the first consideration.
We are a nation in possession of great resources and ingenuity. Made in America is becoming a fact again, not a slogan. Effective communications will facilitate and hasten sales from one local business to another.
Purchasers will continue to emphasize cost, quality, and timeliness - but community impact will become an increasingly important consideration.
Where to Buy:
Ben Schulman: Communications Director at Congress for New Urbanism
Ben Schulman joined CNU as its Communications Director in early 2011, after having established himself as a freelance writer on urban affairs. His work has been noted by The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pop City Media, The Atlantic Online, and the National Review, and has been featured in outlets such as Gapers Block, New Geography, Venus Magazine, and as a guest on the Urbanophile. When not pushing forward CNU's mission, Schulman helps head the independent record label Contraphonic, Inc., and its Contraphonic Sound Series, an attempt to aurally document cities through the medium of sound.
The bumper stickers started to feel ubiquitous in the late 90s, when big-box retail seemed to be hammering the final nail in the coffin of Main Street. Sprawl was spreading. Horizontal growth was equated with economic growth, and commerce was being transacted in increasingly isolated malls and monolithic buildings detached - and detracting - from any sense of community.
A peculiar thing happened on the way away from Main St though. At first, it seemed like just a slogan, found here and there among rusty Volvo bumpers or in the window of some upstart coffeehouse. The phrase "Buy Local" - boldly standing out as a badge of honor for those who already paid heed to its meaning, as well as an imploration to those who came across it - became a calling card for a movement that has now become mainstream.
"Buy Local" means more that just supporting your local merchants, restaurants, and wholesalers by patronizing them. It means supporting the type of infrastructure that allows those businesses to operate on a smaller scale. It means appreciating and investing in designs that enhance a community's sense of place.
Strip malls off the highway don't fulfill that function. Streets designed at a human-scale, within a finely grained network that allow for a mix of small and large businesses complementing one another, is at the heart of the "Buy Local" movement. They allow the record shop to find a storefront small enough to have affordable rent, while supporting the local music scene and throwing shows around the now national "Record Store Day." It creates room for the frame shop to showcase its wares, next to the sandwich shop that buys all its bread from the bakery down the street. There's even a place for the larger retailer - Target immediately comes to mind - who designs a context-sensitive store that blends into the community while providing needed amenities.
"Buy Local" encourages the kind of positive economic competition that can only be fostered in the incremental structure of real places. Places that fulfill the need to explore, to interact and, of course, to shop. It's more than just a credo, it's an economic development plan supported - and based - on good urban design. With such a strong case to support it, it’s easy to buy into.