Is shopping at Walmart in my town “shopping local”?

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This is a question I am asked a lot. Actually, this is a statement I hear a lot: I shop locally! I go to the Walmart down the street!

Now, I have no problem with people choosing to shop at Walmart as the situation warrants. I have bought many a thing there, or at Target or Best Buy or Barnes & Noble over the years. And if you are going to shop in the big box stores or with national chains, doing so in the city you live in is definitely preferred. At least then the sales taxes will be going to your municipality and the workers you are paying probably live in the area. (Please don’t shop at a big box store down the hill!)

So, yes, in a sense, you are shopping locally. However, when we say “buy local” we are talking about the businesses who are independent, who are owned by people here in Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Adelanto, Phelan, Helendale, Lucerne, Oak Hills, Summit Valley, or Phelan.

Our message is all about making smart choices and choosing to shift some of your spending to locally-owned businesses. These businesses keep a greater percentage of their income here in our community and they usually offer a competitive advantage over the big boxes (such as a broader selection of items, higher quality products, greater expertise and knowledge, or better customer service.) It gives our community a unique flavor and provides many more jobs in the long run. Money isn’t going to some corporation out of state, but to a family here in our community. We also encourage businesses to source as much of their services or products locally as well. (Side note: every business has to purchase supplies, sell products, license tools or use some services from outside of the area. We are realistic!)

I like to think of my spending as a well-balanced diet. I choose the “nutrition” of my purchases based on quality, how well it fits what I need, convenience, price, and other important values like being American-made, fair trade, environmentally sound, etc. Is everything I eat during the day 100% healthy? Nope. Not really. But I do try to make as much of what I eat, and what I spend money on as healthy for me, my family, and my community as possible.

This is what we encourage our neighbors to do, and we try to make it easy for you to do it by building our coalition of locally-owned businesses right here in the High Desert. There are alternatives to almost every national chain right here in the Victor Valley if you know where to look!

But if we run into you at the local Starbucks or Target, we can all still be friends.

Interested in meeting some of these locally-owned businesses all in one place? Come to our RelyLocal Business Expo at The Mall of Victor Valley on Saturday, June 30th!

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