What goes around comes around

May 10, 2011


We have all heard many times that we need to shop in Cooperstown more often. Why buy things elsewhere when you can get them in town, they say? Well there are several reasons why the money is leaving town and ending up in Fargo or elsewhere. Cost is a big one.  Why pay local prices when you can get something far cheaper out of town? Availability is another one. Maybe the local shop does not have what you want.  There may be several other reasons why we decide to bypass local businesses and take our money out of town.

Here are a few reasons why we should shop more locally for goods and services and not send the money out of town:

1)      Stimulate local economy. If we shop elsewhere, the money goes into another community’s economy. Every time we spend money in Fargo, it is money that doesn’t grow and improve Cooperstown.  Our local businesses also buy things locally, so the money stays in town.

2)      Convenience. Let’s face it—it is far more convenient to shop in town than to travel, especially in the winter.

3)      Jobs. Local businesses employ a lot of people and those people spend money locally.  If they lose their jobs, they may be forced to move.

4)      Community support. Our small businesses support community programs and charities.

5)      Future. Spending money here helps encourage growth and ensures jobs will be here for people entering the workforce. If we don’t have a strong local economy, people will be forced to leave.

6)      Robbing Peter to pay Paul.  The money we don’t spend in Cooperstown’s economy has to be made up in some other way to pay the city’s bills. If local businesses are booming, then there is more money in the local economy going towards community improvements such as roads, schools and water, etc. So, though it may seem cheaper to buy something in Fargo, it may cost more in taxes to make it up. The city’s budget has to be paid for, and every year I assume it gets bigger. The community needs this money if we plan on growing.  Or even just maintaining the status quo-repairing roads and sewers, etc.

Money is currency and it is if spent locally, it will flow locally. If we direct the “current” out of town then everyone will eventually hop in a boat and follow it. Who will pay the city’s budget then?  Who will pay for the services we all want and need?

Cooperstown is getting smaller and we have to think about what we want to look like in 10-20 years. With fewer jobs available, high school graduates won’t have the choice to stay here and build a life. College graduates won’t even think about returning if there isn’t a job that will pay them well enough to pay off their student loans.

I don’t know the median age of the Cooperstown resident, but we need to look at the fact that we are shrinking and our young people are not sticking around. When the elderly are not around to help support the economy, we may be in big trouble.

Now, let me also state that just because someone has a local business, it does not mean we are obligated to give them our money. They must be innovative, smart and do good “business” to compete against the others. Sometimes reinvesting into the business to give a “fresh” look or trying a different marketing strategy is what it takes to get ahead. A friendly face, a helping hand and a competitive price will keep business here.  Giving guarantees and going the extra mile goes along way too.

No business in town can compete with Wal-Mart’s price points, so they have to find ways to convince shoppers that buying locally is the better option. Wal-Mart buys goods in such massive quantities so they can charge a much lower price, but Wal-Mart is not buying their merchandise from local businesses—they are buying from China. Our local businesses buy locally.

We can try our best to only shop locally for a few weeks or even a whole month. If you cannot get something here, ask the local shop if they can get it. If not, consider settling for something a little different from what you want. I bet that if we shopped more in town, we would not be worried about paying for new streets right now.

The health of Cooperstown reflects upon the value of our property and our paycheck. We have to think about that the next time we shop out of town. The better Cooperstown does, the better we all do.

Every seed sown in Cooperstown produces a harvest for the people of Cooperstown. Let’s boost the economic health of our community and figure out ways to keep it going.

*It isn’t bad to buy something outside of Cooperstown.  We don’t have to feel condemned for shopping outside our community.  We just have to know that it does affect the future condition of the community.




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2 Comments on “What goes around comes around”

  1. Jon Flatland Says:

    It’s hard to believe that with gas prices hovering around $4/gallon people are still driving 60-90 miles or more to save a couple dollars on an item they can get locally. But they do … and you can bet that while they are in Grand Forks or Fargo or someother larger city, they are eating out and probably gassing up for the drive home, thus taking even more money out of their local economy.

    Every dollar spent in a community like Cooperstown is circulated 7 1/2 times through the community … whether it’s in other purchases, taxes or contributions. That’s the purpose of the 3/50 program put in place there couple of years ago. If every resident picked three local businesses a month and spent $50 there, imagine how much money would be recirculated through the community.

    Thanks for your insights on this important issue … Now if we could just get more local residents to walk the walk.


  2. Mitchell Says:

    Hello Jon, thanks for the comment. I think small communities have to find ways to teach the public why it is in their best interest to shop locally. I also think businesses have to work extra hard to keep the consumers in town. I think if it were explained and maybe illustrated effectively, people would see the value in shopping in Cooperstown or wherever they may live.


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