As the major buying season of the year approaches there are movements afoot to encourage you to spend your money at businesses that most directly benefit your community. Each year there are attempts to encourage you to purchase the work of artisans rather than something impersonal; mass-produced at some foreign plant.
As with so much of life, it is not always so black & white. Mega-retailers purchase goods from overseas but do create local economic activity; from payroll to property taxes. Retail has a history of under-paying workers; often with part-time positions devoid of medical insurance & other benefits. Even a local artist is most likely using materials and equipment produced overseas; whether purchased from a local store or on-line. The amount of time and energy that would be required to properly disclose what percentage of any purchase actually qualifies as “domestic content” (much less “local content“)would probably double the purchase price.
Although I am small, independent and local (at least in central Ohio) the bulk of my business is on-line; my photography and graphic design is available from pod-sites; “print on demand” web-sites. These pod-sites and on-line galleries are located out of state; and include a variety of sizes of business.
While the purchase of any item through these companies will send some amount out of central Ohio, without doubt some portion will stay. And of course any purchase of my writing, photography or design work will support an independent artist.