The Buy Local phenomenon has increased over recent years, bringing importance to giving back to your community by utilizing the resources of local businesses and taking away from big-box retailers. These big-box stores are starting to have to compete just like the old style mom-and-pop shops did whenever they were being pushed out of the market. There is a higher sense of community and togetherness than there has been for a long time. People want to see their communities succeed, they want them to be different and unique. The Buy Local movement has especially been driven by younger generations – it is “cool” to get something handcrafted from a local business, rather than ordering something online that has been manufactured in a different country. With the influx of the millennial generation moving back into the cities versus the traditional suburb neighborhoods older generations preferred, this organic growth and widespread Buy Local movement is only taking off.
In Jacksonville, the city has recently became more increasingly interested in buying local. Yes, some people have been doing it for years but it hasn’t been as quite readily available to the mass population as it is now. There are a lot of millennials and younger generations wanting to move back into the heart of the city in neighborhoods like Riverside, San Marco, and Springfield, which are being revamped with lots of residential space to support this. These younger generations are also aware that in order to support as sustainable lifestyle in these communities you have to also support the local businesses. With these residential areas popping up like crazy the local shops have experienced increased business. The people living in these communities want to go to independent business that have character, history and offer something unique to their experience. Examples of this are local coffee shops, breweries, historic movie theaters, restaurants, and so on.
Why should you buy local?
Preserve local character
What entices people most about local communities is the character that they offer. People love being part of a community that is unique and recognizable. Buy local preserves local character because you are encouraging business to come from the actual community. You have people from the community working here and providing business to their neighbors. This takes away opportunity for retail and restaurant chains to come in and make the area like every other neighborhood in America.
It is difficult to start a business and even more challenging to keep it thriving, but by committing to the Buy Local campaign you are actually encouraging entrepreneurship. By encouraging the community to spend local you are reinvesting the money back into the community. People who may not otherwise have had a chance to start their coffee shop or retail store now have the opportunity because you are encouraging them to reinvest back into this community.
Encourage environmental preservation
By putting community growth and character at the highest importance you are actually reducing your environmental footprint, too. You create a sense of pride for the well-being of your community and establish the desire for others to keep things green as well. An example of this is a restaurant that only sources local produce cuts down on its carbon footprint by having less miles on your plate. Less transportation is needed to get the produce to the restaurant and the local farmer is rewarded for their business as well.
This is huge when thinking about the unemployment rates within the last 10 years. If you are like most Americans, you know how difficult it is to find a job when the economy is not working in your favor. The Buy Local campaign encourages job growth and availability because people who live here are able to also work here. More jobs are available because more businesses are able to set up shop.
Compete with larger businesses
There is only one way to stop large corporations from coming into a neighborhood and that’s by making it impossible for them to succeed in it. If you are buying from your local stores, these large retail chains won’t have a market for their businesses. You control what goes on in your community and you control what stays there.
Buying local also allows your community to encourage diversity because you won’t have five different places that sell the same products. You will have individualized and specialized stores that offer a unique product you can’t get anywhere else. The concept of the big-box stores is that all of these communities they go into want the same products. Buying local allows you to change the narrative of your community and encourage diversity to the people who live in it and services it provides.
Where can you buy local in Jax?
- Bold Bean Coffee Roasters has cafes in Riverside, Jax Beach, and San Marco. The company is committed to source, roast, brew, and serve outstanding coffee. Each of their locations has architecture specific to their respective communities.
- Others – BREW Five Points, Social Ground Coffee Company, The Coffee Grinder, Urban Grind Coffee
- Grassroots Natural Market is located in historic Riverside in 5 Points. Here you will find healthy food alternatives that provide natural, healthy and organic foods.
- Sweet Theory Baking Co. is a located on King Street in Riverside. At Sweet Theory they craft organic vegan donuts, cakes, cookies, and other deserts.
- The French Pantry is located on Powers Avenue near Wolfson High School. This bakery doubles as a café that always has a line out the door so make sure you get there early to enjoy fresh bread and baked goods.
- Local Fare Jax – This company specializes in packing local produce from the surrounding area and delivering it to your door.
- Downtown – Bold City, Engine 15 Downtown, Hyperion Brewing Company, Intuition Ale Works, Main and Sixth Brewing Company
- Riverside – Bearded Buffalo Brewing Co., Fishweir Brewing Company, Tabula Rasa Brewing
- San Marco – Aardwolf Brewing Company, River City Brewing Company
- Beaches – Atlantic Beach Brewing Company, Engine 15 Beaches, Green Room Brewing, Ruby Beach Brewing, Southern Swells Brewing Co.
- Southside – Bottlenose Brewing Company, Wicked Barley Brewing Company, Veterans United Craft Brewery
The Buy Local experience in Jacksonville is any easy campaign to get behind because of the positive impacts it has on some of Jacksonville’s most historic communities. The movement from the big-box stores and chain restaurants is increasingly familiar and will continue as long as these areas desire to preserve their local character and reinvest back into their own communities. If you desire to contribute to the Buy Local experience you can do your part by participating in local business.