Friday, January 28, 2011

Going local

Today I want to talk about the many benefits of shopping and keeping your business local. I live in Glendale, California, a city of over 200,000 nestled right up against Los Angeles, a city of 4 million. I'm spoiled for choice when it comes to huge shopping centers, cute boutiques, grocery stores, even farmer's markets. There are thousands of doctors, lawyers and banks in the area. Tell me, then, why have I gone to a dentist 75 miles away for the past six years?

We tend to stick with the things we know. Once we find a dentist, or therapist, or even a dry cleaner we trust, it's hard to leave, even if we move away. However, by being willing to accept a change, we can take advantage of the benefits of having our service providers local, including:

For instance, I always go to my closest In N Out!

  • Saving time. You save on driving time, but also it's easier to make return trips if necessary.
  • Saving money. In gas alone, you'll save big, but often business will offer discounts to locals, or if you are in their area you'll receive coupons in the mail.
  • Less stress. If you don't have to plan a trip to them far in advance, it makes it less of an ordeal to gather your dry cleaning when you have a spare minute and take it down the street. Also, you are less likely to end up sitting in traffic (especially in LA).
  • More exercise. If you live close enough to walk to businesses, leave the car at home once in a while.
  • Safer. If you have an accident or get ill, it takes some of the guesswork out of the equation when you know you have a doctor nearby.
  • Improved sense of community. By actually living your life in your community you make it stronger both economically and by getting to know the people and places that surround you every day.
How to find local business? The Yellow Pages are still being printed, though many of us feel they are obsolete in the wake of the Internet. Yelp is a fantastic free resource for local business, while Angie's List is a great paid one. Ask your friends and neighbors. Word of mouth will never go out of style.

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE shopping local! Almost everyone in all the shops on my avenue know me, for about 10 blocks in either direction. It makes it so pleasant to go out and do errands when you feel like you're catching up with the salespeople along the way. Plus, our local movie theater/ performance art space has a membership. As a member, I pay $75 a year, and in exchange I get $5 off every movie ticket and 10-20% off all participating local businesses (many), definite win-win. It's an incentive for me to try to go to my local independent movie theater when possible, and out to eat nearby.