There are a lot of reasons people are migrating back to buying local goods. Obviously environmental concerns are ahead of the list, as people realize the impact of bringing food in from other areas of the country or world is having on our environment. The affects of this are everywhere:
The most obvious example is the desire for locally grown food that has spurred the growth in Farmer's Markets. Anyone who went to any of the local Farmer's Markets 10 years ago and goes now will tell you the difference in crowds over the past decade.
Meanwhile, many companies are responding. One UK Grocer called Tesco has begun to introduce Carbon Footprint labels on all of its goods. Dole Organic allows you to track your bananas online using a 3 digit farm code printed on their labels. UK based Chippindale Foods has started putting freshness and farm labels on its eggs (if it's important that my Budweiser has a born on date, it's probably much more important that my eggs have one) that allow you to track your eggs at their website wheresyoursfrom.com.
This trend is also starting to shift to clothing -- as people look to buy clothes that aren't made in Chinese (or pick your country) sweat shops.
They are also looking for unique items, ones that have good stories, that lead to a certain prestige in having this unique (and local item). People also like the feeling they get from buying their goods from someone local -- and helping the local company.
You can read the entire report here -- it's well worth the time.
Meanwhile, all of this got me thinking, what could Kansas City (or maybe the State of Missouri?) do to encourage this trend. What would be the benefits?
What if we waived city sales tax on all locally made goods? This would certainly encourage people to buy more Boulevard Beer instead of other microbrewed beers. I know it would mean several more cases of Lunar a year in my household.
Would such a policy encourage some large corporations to open up manufacturing facilities in Kansas City? Or could we somehow incent these companies to move here on their own to capitalize on this trend?
I always hesitate to incent things that people are already doing...sometimes it seems unneccessary, and I'm well aware of the unintended consequences of many of these incentives. But it sure seems like an opportunity to increase growth among our local businesses?
Or maybe it's wishful thinking on my part to get a discount on my Boulevard Beer :)