There are case studies, which say it takes 21 days to create a new habit, and some even say it can take up to 66 days. Whichever it is, we need to get in the habit, the habit of shopping local! This campaign tagline has been around for years, but are we actively practicing shopping local? Are we shopping local every day, every week and every month? Now more than ever, our businesses and our town, need us to step up. Yes, the very life of our businesses and community depend on it.
What does shopping local look like? It means looking at what products and services are available here in Redmond and Central Oregon and buying local first. We know shopping online is quick and easy, but dollars are sent outside of the area, state and even country, when we shop online. It is reported that 70 cents of every dollar spent at a locally owned business stays local, as compared to 40 cents when spent at a national corporation. Now, we know not everything will be available locally, but the habit we are working on is making the conscious decision to look local first and shop local whenever possible.
How can we shop local first during a pandemic? Looking at the hardest-hit business first is a great place to start, those businesses forced to be closed. Restaurants have been restricted to offering takeout and outside dining only. Takeout is great seven days a week, but not all of us are in the habit of grabbing takeout. Make a pledge to grab a breakfast, lunch or dinner, to-go, at least twice a week if you are able. Remember it only takes 21 days to make a habit, so put it on your calendar.
Gyms are another group of businesses forced to be closed. Have you let your gym membership lapse, or have you never joined a gym? Now is a great time to join, so don’t let your New Year’s resolution to get in shape, be a victim of the pandemic. Call your local gym and see if they are offering online fitness programs. Buy a membership with the gym even if they are not open, and workout at home. There is a psychological effect called guilt, that if you are paying for a gym membership you are more likely to go workout. While it may be a little silly to pay for a gym membership when the gym is closed, the other psychological benefit, is the feeling you get knowing you are helping a business weather the pandemic. It is good for the heart and soul.
Shopping local builds a sense of community. You get to know your local businesses and shop purveyors. Local, is all about community and helping each other, it is all about neighbor helping neighbor. Speaking of neighbors, be sure to check on those nearby and make sure they are getting out during the pandemic. Make sure they have been eating, exercising and getting the social interaction needed to stay healthy. Make it a habit to check on your friends, family and neighbors.
Are we ready to make shopping local a habit? The definition of a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. Our community is in our hands; do not expect endless bailouts and government funding to make up the losses. Shop local, be local, be engaged and make it a habit to do all you can for your community.