Ventura County's Support-Local Program

Be Local – Build A Stronger Community

Rather than just promoting “buy local,” communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage. Learn why.

Making the Shift

We at Totally Local VC feel that rather than simply promoting “buying local,” we are suggesting that we take a larger role as stewards. By thinking local and living local we can make choices that have a dramatic impact on our local communities, economies, and environments. We do understand that we cannot find everything we need at a local independent establishment. But we are advocating that people work toward living local by looking first for locally produced and owned sources for the things we might need or want. TLVC encourages a 10% shift in spending to local. How does this equate to our local economy you ask. Well, a 10% shift in spending to independent business can result in an average of 1,600 new jobs, $53 million in wages, and $137 million economic impact to the area. A 10% shift in food spending could redirect $186 million each year to countywide farmers and ranchers. That is a pretty significant impact – and it only takes 10%! Our goal is to encourage our community to work together to help create a thriving local economy by maximizing the potential of local businesses, farming, the arts and organizations. And, by doing this, we will transfer market share (business, government, and consumer purchases) from non-locally-owned businesses to local, independently-owned businesses and other local groups such as artists, musicians and organizations.

Plowing money back into the community

The saying goes, “a dollar revolves an average of seven times in a community.” So, in essence, each dollar affects a lot of lives positively. This could be in the form of local grocers, eating establishments, local record shops, clothing stores, builders, trade and craftsmen, banking and support businesses. Statistics show that local independent businesses and farming recycles more money back into our local economy. They also give greater support to a community’s nonprofit and civic needs. They are better positioned to respond to the special needs of the community. And they are more tied to the community’s future. Additionally, unlike a homogenized “some place” that looks like “any place, USA,” a community with vibrant independent businesses retains its unique character. It also creates an attractive draw for other businesses and tourism. And we all know how lucky we are to live in this amazing place!

Even more benefits of being totally local

Local character and prosperity seem to be lost in this increasingly homogenized world. But communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character have an economic advantage:

  • Community Well-Being. Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships, and contributing to local causes.
  • Local Decision Making. Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.
  • Keeping Dollars in the Local Economy. Compared to chain stores, locally-owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.
  • Job and Wages. Locally-owned businesses create more jobs locally and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains do.
  • Entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class.
  • Public Benefits and Costs. Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big box stores and strip shopping malls.
  • Environmental Sustainability. Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walk able town centers-which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss, and air and water pollution.
  • Competition. A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term.
  • Product Diversity. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based, not on a national sales plan, but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

The shift to locally-owned business is really not that difficult and the benefits to our community are huge! Join the support-local movement today and help build a stronger community from within.

Looking for a list of locally-owned business and products? Then just take a look at our Totally Local VC Directory listings. We really do have just about everything we need right in our own back yard! Information sources include: BALLE, Retail Civic Economics Firm, The Retail Partnership
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Learn more about author Kat Merrick

Kat Merrick

About the author

Kat Merrick made her mark in the apparel world as an innovative leader and founder of Surf Chick Inc. With over 25 years of extensive experience managing worldwide capacity apparel facilities, companies and product, her superior leadership skills, practiced in directing cross-functional global teams to design, brand, source develop and marketing, won her world-wide recognition and awards. She is considered an expert in the areas of trend studies, brand building and marketing. At 23 years old she opened her first successful retail business in Ventura County, Since then, Kat has owned and operated several very successful retail and wholesale operations and assisted numerous multi-category small businesses to achieve success. Highly respected by many local small business owners, growers, artists and locals, she has been tagged as "the Shop Local girl". Kat's extensive travels, strong business knowledge and desire to make a positive impact locally helped inspire her to create Totally Local VC. A Ventura County resident since 1978, single mother of two and long-standing advocate for support of local small business and all that is Ventura, founder and developer of Totally Local VC, Kat brings her passion for our community to all she does. Her writings, posts and blog reflect her love of family, friends and community and desire to help.


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