Article by John Breakey, President-Elect, Oakville Chamber of Commerce for "The Business Advocate".

Why is the Oakville Chamber sponsoring a Buy Local campaign?

One of the Chamber’s core mandates is to help nurture and grow businesses that operate in our community. The Buy Local campaign is an opportunity to promote all of those merchants, suppliers, manufacturers, restaurants and services companies that make our community so vibrant. This campaign allows us all to bring focus on the local economy and encourage people to support the community by investing in it.

Isn’t this contrary to globalization?

Buy Local is complimentary to a global economy. Both are important parts of a balanced economy and one should not supercede the other at the expense of the other. The economic effects of a global economy have been a great benefit to Oakville and Ontario. We host a number of manufacturers, exporters and service companies that depend on a healthy, open trade with the rest of the world. That is why the Chamber also supports and advocates international trade in a number of its program, however a strong global economy is only of real value to a local community when the 2 can coexist in harmony.

Why is a strong local business community so important?

Local businesses are the major contributors to our local charities such as the United Way, the local hospital, trauma centres and many of the other needy social causes. Local businesses sponsor our children’s sports teams, making them more accessible to everyone. Especially in this time when governments are relying on contributions from the private sector to offset funding shortfalls, it is increasing important to make sure we have a strong local economy so that businesses have a surplus to contribute back to the community.

Local businesses create local employment that leads to a better quality of life. People who live and work in the same community generate many social benefits. They have more time for their families, reduce traffic congestion and reduce their stress levels and more. Oakville’s business community offers wide variety of job opportunities. By supporting a strong local economy we create more jobs for more people to take advantage of this enriched live / work environment.

I don’t want to sacrifice quality and best price.

It is not the intention of the Buy Local campaign to stop
anyone from continuing to buy goods or use services from outside our community. When purchasing anything, the reason for our choices is often a matrix of availability, great service, price and convenience. Buy Local is not about sacrifice. It is about a conscious awareness to give local businesses the opportunity to win a little more of your business. When all things are equal it is hoped that both local consumers and businesses will take the opportunity to invest in their community. Oakville is home to some of the best consultants, professional service practices, financial planners, and information technology companies. Buy Local is a way for other businesses to provide these groups with the opportunity to compete for your business.

I operate a business in Oakville. How can I participate?

First, let all of your employees know you support and encourage the concepts of Buy Local. Next, enshrine this concept in your purchasing policies. Make sure that your purchasing staff seeks out local suppliers to compete for your business whenever they purchase goods or services. Have a little fun by purchasing a few Buy Local tee shirts from the Oakville Chamber and invite your purchasing people to wear them. Further, promote the idea of shopping local with your employees. Finally, get out to some of the Chamber’s monthly business networking events to uncover new relationships with other local businesses to work together.

I live in Oakville. What can I do?

All of us who live in Oakville make choices daily to purchase a variety of consumer goods. Whether we are buying a car, a TV, new clothes or treating ourselves to a fine restaurant, always consider purchasing from a local merchant. Continue to shop around a look for the best selection and value but make sure your neighborhood businesses are always on your list of where to shop. Just by buying 10% more of your purchases from local suppliers you will have a dramatic impact on the local economy.
The Oakville Chamber of Commerce is committed to promoting a healthy, vibrant business community that in turn strengthens the community as a whole. We are proud sponsors of this Buy Local campaign and we sincerely hope everyone gets involved.