Sandy Scott: Shop Locally And Build Community

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What does “going local” mean to you? Are you tired of hearing about it? Have a reason to complain about poor customer service? Do you justify shopping on line because we live behind the Redwood Curtain?

Most of us make an effort to support our local community but yet we can all answer a resounding YES to at least one of these questions.

Who does not enjoy going to “The City” to shop and surfing the web to see what the latest and hottest items are? Next time before we click on “Buy Now” let’s ask ourselves if we have done our part to inform our local merchants on exactly what we want… the old African adage says, “it takes a village to raise a child” but we can change that tried and true saying to “success is built on local participation.”

Discussing our negative experiences in the community doesn’t make it better but talking to someone, maybe the owner or manager, who can make a change, may help.

Ask your favorite retailers if they can special order what you are looking for and carry the brands you want to purchase. Let’s all be part of the solution and assist in making the local shopping experience convenient and a delight for locals and tourists.

Humboldt Hardware has helped in making me a more dedicated local shopper. Patrick Murphy and Lane Thomsen, co-owners of Humboldt Hardware, recently moved their business to the Vance Hotel. Their December sales were excellent and resulted in cutting checks to local craftsman to the tune of $8,000.

They exemplify customer service and believe in and encourage their craftsmen that pride themselves on using materials found locally. Twenty artists ranging in age from 14 to 80 take special orders and display their wares at Humboldt Hardware. Like many local merchants they exemplify the meaning of excellent customer service.

Sharing “shopping local” statistics with Arcata is like preaching to the choir but I hope sharing these stats will assist in you too becoming more dedicated to the concept of “local”:

• Dollars spent locally circulate five to 16 times before leaving the local economy.

• This change in how we spend our money translates into real jobs.

• Throughout the United States, only about 33.6 percent of the revenue from national chains is reinvested into the community, which is very low compared to the 64.8 percent return from local businesses. Seventy to 80 percent of dollars spent in local stores stay in the local economy longer.

Angie Schwab is spearheading Humboldt County’s “Go Local” campaign with the two main goals of increasing sales of locally produced products and to increase exports.

Look for “Go Local” campaigns at:

• Eureka Natural Foods

• Murphy’s Markets

• North Coast Co-ops

• Ray’s Food Place

• Wildberries Marketplace

You too can join this list! Want to get involved and learn additional ways you can encourage and support shopping local? Stop by the California Welcome Center/Arcata Chamber of Commerce at 1635 Heindon Road to get your “Go Local” button and/or call Angie Schwab at (707) 476-4813 to learn how your business can participate.

Let’s make Arcata and Humboldt County richer, in every way, by working together to support our local merchants.

Sandy Scott is director of the Arcata Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at (707) 822-3619 or