Goose Meets Gander

Yesterday, there was an article in the Times-Georgian newspaper (our county newspaper) which announced a new web site to help local consumers and farmers. The article did a nice job informing the local community about the new website which is designed to help consumers find local farms so they can buy local and support the local economy.

I have to say, I am all for that. There is nothing better that heading over to the farmer’s market, picking up farm fresh eggs, meat and vegetables and bringing them home. The meals we make with locally farmed products taste so much better, and they don’t have all those preservatives you would find in items at the store. One thing I support is buying locally, if the product or service is available.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the county feels that way. Local businesses are hurting more than ever. More than a couple of our favorite local stores have really suffered in this economy and some of them have been forced to close, they just couldn’t make it through this tough time.

If we’re looking for a book we consider visiting a locally owned bookstore on the square in Carrollton to see if they have it before we even think about visiting the big nationwide bookstore. When we want ice cream we have a local place here in Temple that fits the bill. One of our favorite little shops for gift ideas is on the main street in Villa Rica. The ladies at that shop are always cheerful and witty, giving their shop just the right atmosphere for local shoppers. My family makes an honest attempt to shop local because, as local business owners, my wife and I both understand the importance of community support.

It seems, however, that not everyone agrees on the definition of “buy local” or what it actually entails. Companies and individuals that want websites developed have a few really good local choices, yet there are far too many local websites in Carroll County that have been developed everywhere except Carroll County. I’ve noticed quite a few local business websites that were created by companies in metro Atlanta, neighboring states, and even as far away the west coast, yet very few that were designed and developed right here in our own county.

I had one potential customer (who was local) ask me what kind of discount I was going to give him because he was a local customer. I thought he was joking and chuckled. Does he get a discount at the local Mexican restaurant because he lives around the corner? Sadly to say he chose to have his website developed by a company in Tennessee. As much as I support the “buy local” movement, I have to admit if my business depended solely on local companies and residents, my business would have folded long ago.

My wife manufactures sewn products, so she sees a lot more local interest than I do in web design and development, yet our local farmer’s market still sells re-usable “environmentally friendly” bags that are made in China.

It’s easy for people to claim they buy local, and it’s easy for them to preach the value of doing so, but when push comes to shove they tend to forget about the service businesses and that buying local means much more than supporting your local retail stores and farmers.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?