Letter: Let’s Keep it Local With Holiday Shopping Dollars

We are fortunate in Jamaica Plain to be able to purchase a terrific cup of coffee, a useful tool for cooking a meal, a gift for a friend’s new baby, or a wholesome loaf of bread for dinner—all from locally-owned, independent businesses whose shop owners care about our neighborhood and are invested in our community’s future. Local businesses are fortunate to have JP Local First, our only neighborhood-wide business organization focused on supporting local and independently owned businesses.

How we spend our money can make real, tangible differences in our neighborhood. JP Local First encourages area residents to shop locally and invites them to consider the positive impact their shopping decisions have on our community. Keeping our dollars local is a great way to participate in this neighborhood that we care about. There is a proven local economic “multiplier effect”. In fact, when consumers choose to support locally owned businesses, 48 percent of those dollars stay within our community as opposed to only 14 percent when buying from non-local retailers and businesses (source: Civic Economics).

In return, Jamaica Plain and adjoining neighborhood business owners are enthusiastic about and committed to the community they work in. They not only hire local workers and purchase from one another, but they also support local nonprofits and schools in ways that help to make our neighborhood the unique place that it is. Walking the length of Centre Street, countless businesses proudly display their support of Regan Youth League. Attend a local BPS event and you’ll see myriad gift certificates and silent auction offerings from local JP businesses. Wander Spontaneous Celebrations’ “Wake Up the Earth” festival and you’ll note JP business info tables and sponsorships. You will also see the business owners at many of these events because they are our neighbors.

At this time of year, it is even more important to consider where you want to place the impact of your shopping dollars. Consumers spend a large portion of their annual shopping budgets during the winter holidays. Let’s keep it local! Pick up a paper 2015 JP Local First directory at one of our member businesses or visit JP Local First’s online directory. Our directory can help you find the goods and services you seek in JP and adjoining neighborhoods, while reassuring you that the dollars you spend contribute to the economic health of our community.

On Dec. 8, JP Local First is launching its 2015 directory of member businesses at an event held at Sanctuary on Centre in Hyde Square. All JP and surrounding community residents are invited—come celebrate with us! Our membership now numbers 153 local and independently owned businesses.

Having recently joined the team at JP Local First, I am looking forward to getting to know my community in new ways and finding innovative and practical ways to our increase our economic vitality and stability. Business owners and JPers each have an active role to play.

Amanda Lapham

Coordinator, JP Local First

www.jplocalfirst.org