Businesslife with Tara Levick

Spring 2020

“The multiplier effect for local businesses states that when $100 is spent locally at an independent retailer, $68 of that hundred stays in the community”

What does it mean to shop local?

Everyone has a different definition of what it means to support local. Some feel that you should only support independent retailers; others feel you should support any and all local businesses. No matter what your definition is, the outcome is the same: supporting local helps everyone in Airdrie.

Choosing to spend locally allows money to be cycled back into our community, which means we all have a stake in helping to boost Airdrie’s economy. According to the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the multiplier effect for local businesses states that when $100 is spent locally at an independent retailer, $68 of that hundred stays in the community. If you think about that, $68 adds up quickly! That money provides opportunities for local businesses to hire employees, reinvest it into their products and services, and to give back by sponsoring community organizations, causes and events.

YOU can be the difference in whether a local business, like the coffee shop down the street, survives or dies. You have the power to be that regular customer who helps ensure the owner (who is someone’s neighbour!) has a consistent and reliable customer base. And don’t forget, that business owner is working his or her hardest to make their dream of being an entrepreneur come true. By spending your money and time in local businesses, you have the ability to change people’s lives and have a positive impact on the Airdrie economy.

For me, supporting local means thinking Airdrie first. I try to find what I’m looking for locally before looking elsewhere. Does this take more of my time? Yes. Do I sometimes have to make multiple trips? Yes. But for me it’s worth it. Really, who doesn’t feel a bit warm and fuzzy knowing that they supported their neighbour or a friend of a friend?

There are other ways to support local besides spending money. You can volunteer your time, support community groups and get involved in community events. Airdrie is home to many community groups looking for volunteers or support on their boards. These community initiatives are run solely on volunteerism and they are always looking for help. Give the gift of time by getting involved. Whether it be staple events like the pro rodeo and Festival of Lights or new events such as the Foam 5K Run, children’s festival or Boo at the Creek; all these events need community support to be successful.

Shop local. Eat local. Volunteer local. Play local. Spend local. Enjoy local. Stay local. Whatever you call it, it’s all about thinking Airdrie first. There is really no downside to supporting the local businesses that support the community where we all live, work and play.


Tara Levick is an economic development officer with the City of Airdrie