Tag Archives: local mechanic

Why Support Locally Owned Businesses?

Why Support Locally Owned Businesses?

A study highlighted by the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) assessed two independent, locally owned businesses in Austin, Texas (record store Waterloo Records and book store Book People), finding that they recirculated over 200% more money into the local economy than the estimate of what a Borders Books and Music location would have given back to the city.


The return of money to the local Boulder economy is a major reason to support locally owned, independent businesses. It is just one of many though. Let’s look at these reasons, explore a concept called the multiplier effect, and specifically review the satisfaction advantage of locally owned auto repair shops.


11 reasons to support your locally owned businesses


The Boulder County Independent Business Alliance (BIBA) notes that corporate franchises have become the standard for a huge range of products and services, such as coffee, groceries, and hardware. Big box stores often drive independent local businesspeople into having to shut down their shops. In turn, towns around the United States “are becoming marked by stark uniformity and lack of human scale,” says BIBA.


Here are 11 reasons to shop local, from BIBA and the nonprofit Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR):


  1. The money stays in the local area.

The entire local area will be boosted when people are buying more products and services from their neighbors rather than from corporate chains because a significantly larger chunk of the revenue from local businesses is reinvested locally (as indicated above).

  1. It enhances the sense of local community.

A business that is owned and run locally strengthens the community by giving to local charities and creating a more cohesive sense of place, creating a fabric of interconnected relationships between consumers and businesses, both economic and personal. Town centers are often revitalized by local entrepreneurs too.

  1. It gives your area a unique character.

When business and life are increasingly dominated by sameness and the overhyped supposed predictability advantage of large brands, being distinctive offers an advantage.

  1. Keep control at the local level.

The people in the local community will be most impacted by decisions that are made regarding the local area. By supporting businesses that are independent, you also support the independence of the area’s decision-making. As corporations accrue more power every day, they increasingly are able to control policies in local communities, explains BIBA. Think about companies that are absentee-owned being able to increasingly pressure and control local governments. In that sense, these companies threaten the democracy of the local area, according to BIBA. One example is subsidies and tax breaks that may be available to corporations to choose a certain place for a new store. Beyond that, huge companies can use their global presence and incredible funding to sidestep environmental and human rights laws through physical or financial transition to nations, states, and cities that do not have as many rules in place.

  1. Get access to a broader range of products and services.

A cookie-cutter model within a national franchise is expected. Within local businesses, though, you can find more diversity of offerings. When there are more small businesses, the needs of local people are the point of focus, leading to better access to a larger number of items locally.

  1. You have more competition, which cuts down the price.

Most people know that competition is a fundamental precept of a thriving capitalist economy. You both keep down the costs and see more innovation when there are hundreds or thousands of small businesses. When Walmart was studied in Iowa, the researchers found that 84% of its business was taken from local merchants. Box stores and other corporate chains mean less competition; prices may start low but gradually will rise over time.

  1. Buying local is a commitment to sustainability.

Independent shops often have agreements with local companies, reducing the need for shipping. There are fewer executive plane flights. Plus, independent local companies improve walkability – minimizing pollution (emissions), habitat loss, and sprawl.

  1. It increases pay and improves employment rates.

A typical local business generates more jobs locally than a corporate chain does. Pay and benefits are also often preferable to what is offered by chain stores.

  1. Your tax dollars are better utilized.

Everyone wants their tax dollars to be used as intelligently as possible. The costs and advantages of an independent company are both better; these businesses utilize public services more efficiently and do not have as much need for infrastructure as strip malls and box stores do.

  1. Buying independently is an investment in entrepreneurship.

Upward social mobility is central to the American dream. The entrepreneurship that is built into an independent business provides opportunities for people to move more solidly into the middle class. It also enhances innovation.

  1. It reduces costs for anyone local who wants to start a business.

Large Wall Street corporations force everyone in the area to pay more for their leases, since these heavily funded organizations can pay for huge amounts of space.


Multiplier effect


In the above list of reasons, we noted how local businesses tend to reinvest in the local economy. The extent to which independent shops reinvest locally is incredible. The impact of the difference between locally owned franchises and absentee-owned businesses can be described in three ways, through the multiplier effect, as indicated by AMIBA:


  • Direct impact – Directly, a local small business often spends locally for business operations costs such as wages, equipment, inventory, and utilities.
  • Indirect impact – This effect is seen as the money that an independent company uses for purchases locally is recycled within the community.
  • Induced impact – This form of impact occurs as the owners, staff, and affiliates make purchases locally.


Better satisfaction ratings at independent auto shops


One way to alleviate some of the frustration of taking your car in for a repair or maintenance, says nonprofit consumer research publication Consumer Reports, is to choose an independent shop over a new-car dealership franchise. (We have reviewed this study in this blog previously, but we will provide a bit more detail here.)


The service of 121,000 cars was included within the survey. 41,000 of the vehicles were repaired at independent, local mechanics, while the remainder were fixed at chain new-car dealerships. The locally owned, independent auto shops received better scores from car owners for a broad range of factors, including the accuracy of time estimates, friendliness of personnel, quality of work performed, cost, and general satisfaction. Nearly all the independent shops reviewed by the magazine had high scores from its customers for all those categories. Dealerships did not typically have high scores.


The only dealer that had strong satisfaction was Tesla. However, Consumer Reports noted that Tesla was a new entry to the market at the time (2015), and that it did not have nearly as large a pool of customers to keep happy as the more widespread luxury automakers. As Tesla continues to manufacture more and more automobiles, the magazine suggested, quality would likely decline. In fact, the Tesla Model X has been a dud in the dependability department, making the magazine’s most recent list of 10 Least Reliable Cars.


Setting aside the possible exception of Tesla, though, independent is clearly the way to go, according to the report’s findings.


Getting your car repair from an independent shop


As you can see, there are many reasons local outperforms corporate chains and should be considered when you make purchases in Boulder.


Would you like to start supporting the local community with car repair? We originally started Independent Motors because we felt our city needed an auto repair shop that was in line with Boulder’s values — Community, Loyalty and Honesty. Meet our staff.

How Can We Build an Even Stronger Local Community?

Building a Strong Local Community

It only makes sense for all of us in Boulder to put effort into building an even stronger local community. What does that mean though? How can we really make our community stronger? Let’s look to the experts for their thoughts on this topic.


  • 3-part connection between sustainability & community
  • 3 goals to strengthen community
  • 3 keys to community strength
  • 3 things businesses can do for community impact
  • Supporting local & independent business


3-part connection between sustainability & community


One aspect of building community is the notion of sustainability. According to urban planning and design firm PlaceMakers, there is a “triple bottom line of profits, planet, and people” involved with it. People are the aspect of the trio that tends to get ignored, argues the firm. In term of the planet, environmental concerns support an entire industry. In terms of the economy, it should remain fairly stable in a market because businesses fundamentally want it to be stable (at least relatively stable, since we also know that disruption creates opportunities).


However, the core concern is the people, notes PlaceMakers, because the social connection is ultimately the driver for the economic growth and protection of the environment. In other words, the group advocates that we first move toward one another and deepen our connection, then shift to focusing more on building our financial resources and developing lasting and dedicated environmental sustainability programs.


Whether you agree with all that or not, it does illustrate how working to build stronger interpersonal connections can help in impacting other areas as well.


3 goals to strengthen community


We can learn more about the notion of strengthening community by looking at people who are trying to help those on the lower end of the economic spectrum. Now let’s look at a few goals, presented by the Guardian Public Leaders Network, that help in planning to build community effectively, from executives at nonprofit British housing associations:


#1 – Solving joblessness – Do you know anyone who doesn’t have a job, or are you unemployed or partially employed? It is wrong-headed as a community to assume that people who are jobless are ultimately responsible for their predicament, noted Erika Rushton, neighborhood director for Plus Dane Group. Lack of jobs “is under-employment and we should take collective responsibility for creating employment,” she said.


#2 – Making connections – Paul Taylor, innovation coach at Bromford Lab (a spinoff of the housing association Bromford) said that a strong community is all about interweaving and building connections. It is critical, in order to strengthen a community, that you find people with certain skills and goals, then link them with others who have the same interests or can help them become even better at what they do and more powerfully poised for success.


#3 – Talking face-to-face – It is easy to get obsessed with social media, even locally. To build community relationships, talk to people at their homes, in stores, in the park, or at the school, suggested Fintan Tynan, resident empowerment management for Poplar Harca.


3 keys to community strength


Let’s go back to the advice from PlaceMakers. These are three of the primary keys that the organization associates with a strong local community:


#1 – Great leadership – You need trust within your community if you want it to be infused with the confidence that fosters growth. That starts with competent leadership. What you need to see is city hall and other people within the community talking with one another; looking at the different angles and input; and taking action based on that deeper understanding of the situation. Leadership breeds cultural collaboration, advises PlaceMakers.


#2 – Fostering walkability – There is a reason the traditional city had a center. PlaceMakers points out that, incredibly, many best practices that build community are currently illegal in municipalities throughout the country (leading into their argument for form-based code). As possible, the walkability of a neighborhood such as Whittier should be emulated. Whittier, established in 1859, is a historic district and has some of the oldest homes in Boulder. The walkability in Whittier helps build community because everyone is walking to the Pearl Street Mall, the Boulder farmer’s market, the CU campus, parks, schools, restaurants, and retail stores.


#3 – Programs – Street fairs, carnivals, farmer’s markets, and public concerts are all chances for people in the community to meet one another. The local government does not necessarily have to initiate these types of programs. After all, it is not just about gatherings in the downtown area. You also want to have these types of engaging activities at the levels of the neighborhood and even the block. Grass-roots events can sometimes be particularly meaningful and interesting. Nationally, an example is Porchfest – which takes place in Ithaca, New York, every year. Bands perform on residents’ porches and in their front yards. Here are some happenings in downtown Boulder, from Downtown Boulder Partnership (DBP), as an example of some community-building events going on in the area.


3 things businesses can do for community impact


First, when we think about how businesses can be helpful to the community, one place to get advice is the website of self-help book The ONE Thing. Here are three ideas for businesses to make an impact, from authors Gary W. Keller and Jay Papasan:


#1 – Knowledge-sharing – You may not have enough money to be able to pay for significant community development projects at this point. However, you could have skills that would be of incredible help to your local community. One really compelling story nationally along those lines is PENCIL, which is a nonprofit that helps businesspeople to meet with students, teachers, and principals. The end result of PENCIL, based in New York City, has been incredibly positive, according to the authors. In fact, 9 in 10 principals at participating schools said that their involvement with the organization had advanced the school or the test results of its students within the past twelve months. Simply be involving itself with a school, a business can make a massive impact on its community because students go on to college and eventually employment. You can think about how your or your staff’s core skills could potentially work toward the betterment of charities and other groups in the Boulder area.


#2 – Put together or sponsor a charity event – If we want to do something meaningful in the community and also make a positive impression on our neighbors, it is wise to think about how we can help charities. It is time-consuming and complex to set up an event that integrates numerous parties, but the process will help you get better networked. There can be a domino-effect that results in these efforts, say the authors. In a very simple sense, you only have to set it up once and can then repeat many of the same processes at the recurrence of the annual event.


#3 – Donate what you can – You may have some things lying around the office that are more clutter than they are useful. While you may not have use for it, it’s entirely possible that a local nonprofit (or the people it serves) might. A particularly good time for companies to think about donating is when they’re moving.


Supporting local & independent business


Are you wanting to help build a stronger local community? One way to do that is to support businesses that are also highly invested in the community – independent, locally owned and operated ones.


At Independent Motors, we care about the local community here in Boulder. And our employees are experts at what they do, which gives us the confidence to go out and earn your trust. See our beliefs.