Rep. Carlos Tobon
Globalization has hit Rhode Island hard. Those manufacturing jobs that allowed my immigrant parents and generations of other Rhode Islanders the opportunity to raise their families in modest comfort are long gone. It’s not just manufacturing, either. Our state is touted as the calamari capital of the world. Yet, walk into any local supermarket today and you will find packages of frozen calamari from China competing with offerings from Galilee, often at a lower price. Now, we can sit around and lament the impact that globalization has had on our local economy or we can personally change this troubling societal trend by taking a very simple action
Everyone makes resolutions at the start of a New Year. Some are easier to keep than others. Alongside pledges to hit the gym or save for a special occasion, let’s resolve to shift just 10% of our spending to locally-owned small businesses. Whether its groceries, clothing, home goods or anything else, let’s consider the local option first.
Locally-owned small businesses are, collectively, our state’s largest employer. When we choose a local small business over a chain store, more of the money we spend stays right here in Rhode Island through supplies, wages and, yes, taxes. According to a national study, $100 spent at local small businesses produced, on average, more than $40 worth of local economic activity while a similar amount spent at a national retailer brought back less than $15.
Furthermore, shopping at locally-owned small businesses strengthens our communities and shared collective lives by encouraging interactions and conversations that are foreign to the big box store environment. When was the last time you met someone new at a Walmart?
From Mineral Spring Avenue in Pawtucket to Main Street in Wickford Village, Rhode Island is home to a remarkable variety of locally-owned small businesses that offer every imaginable product and service. We all need to do our part to help move Rhode Island forward, and that includes supporting locally-owned small businesses.
The RI General Assembly is working hard to incentivize local job growth and make it easier for businesses to thrive. Meanwhile, let’s resolve to help Rhode Island businesses grow and create jobs by spending more of our money locally and encouraging our families, friends and neighbors to do the same.
It’s important that we keep our money circulating through the Rhode Island economy and that is only accomplished through buying locally.
Rep. Carlos E. Tobon represents District 58 in Pawtucket.