A community is enriched in four respects: community-led design, identity, social capital, productivity. Social capital is the social ties that serve as the catalyst that leads the community development process. Therefore, enriching the lives of its consumers. These social ties are the small businesses that make the heartbeat of the community tangible.
Small businesses are the lifeline of every community. They are the reason why tourists visit and why people never leave. To understand its culture, you also have to understand the small businesses that make up the fabric of a beautiful neighborhood. The way we choose to spend our money can make or break an economy, build a community, and save lives. Taking a stand and positioning our buying power as an advocating tool can gradually shift our neighborhoods into an economically sustainable community. Interestingly, “a community’s health directly correlates to how many times money circulates or recycles within that community. (5 Positive)"
Top 3 Myths
Myth 1: Local Shops sale the same products as chain stores
Yes, on the surface, a coffee from Starbucks or coffee from Mary’s Coffee Spot is still a coffee. However, the differences are behind the scenes. For example, many companies such as Starbucks are chain stores, and most of their ingredients and products are outsourcing from another state or country. Therefore, circulating local money outside of the community it serves. Meaning they are theoretically taking money out of the community they serve to provide for another community. On the contrary, Mary’s Coffee Spot products are most of the time purchased from local manufacturers, thus, continuing the circulation of money within the community. By purchasing from local vendors, Mary’s Coffee Spot is supporting local businesses and increasing job security. “For every $100 you spend at local businesses, $68 will stay in the community (Think Local!)." Therefore, by shopping local, you are indirectly giving money back to your community to fund their developmental process.
Myth 2: Chain Stores provide more job opportunities
False. It is easy to assume that chain stores are always hiring due to the size of the organization, but they are required to hire a certain number of employees, and they can outsource employees from other states and countries. Contrary to chain stores, locally owned businesses are most likely to hire from within their community because of the word of mouth and personal connections. Also, they are most likely to offer better wages and benefits. Employment and unemployment are the driving forces behind economic growth and stagnation.
Myth 3: Local shops support their community more.
True! For a local business to thrive, the community they serve must thrive. Consequently, local business owners are most likely to step up and get involved with community initiatives because of this mutual dependency. Granted, several corporate companies make it a part of their mission to give back to the community they serve. Granted, seeking out ways to support does not compare to the owner of a business who is a native. They understand the deep needs of the neighborhood, and they know how to strategically cater to the needs of their friends and fellow neighbors.
Many times, citizens believe tangible civic change can only appear from contacting a councilman or joining a protest, but it can also lye in where you chose to spend your money. By leveraging buying power, people and communities can gain access to services they want at a lower cost and create the culture of a space that is directly influenced by its people. “In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage.(Mitchell, Stacy)" No one wants to live in a cookie-cutter neighborhood, and developing a community filled with diverse businesses as well as the people that live there is one way to start.
MCRA strongly believes in supporting local businesses within Mid City, which is why we created Mid City Merchants to serve as the sounding board for all Mid City businesses. If you would like to start a new business or are looking for resources to support the success of your business email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission of Mid City Redevelopment Alliance is to develop and promote the growth and renewal of Mid City Baton Rouge by attracting new and retaining current residents and businesses.