In a recent news report I learned that if we all spent just $64 on gifts with a “Made in America” label, we could create 200,000 new American jobs. So I started my Holiday shopping this year with a focus on buying American-made products and buying from local businesses. I spent a lot of time looking at the labels in search for that elusive “Made in the USA” label and quickly realized that finding just one American made product for each of my family members was going to be difficult. After finally purchasing a pair of deerskin leather gloves that were made in the USA, I turned my attention to the local stores in my city (Asheville, NC) and county (Buncombe). Supporting our local businesses is more important than ever and I found it easy and satisfying to buy from local businesses, especially when most of the time it didn’t cost much more to do so.
With most of my Holidayshopping complete (I am not one to wait to the last minute) I reflected on the impact that “buying local” had on Equinox. I found that the impact this past year in particular was very positive for our business. Projects in the community of major significance in terms of scope and costs typically are awarded to firms outside the city and county line. However, this year the City of Asheville hired local firm McGill Associates to lead the effort on the Lake Craig project a major flood improvement project near the highly visited and used Azalea Road Park and Nature Center. McGill assembled a team of local professionals to assist with the project, which thankfully included Equinox. Also this year, Equinox with another local firm Kostelec Planning was hired to lead the Buncombe County Greenways & Trails Master Plan, a project that could have easily been “outsourced”. These two projects alone helped support 7 firms that employ more than 80 people that live and work locally. Since small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, these two projects alone had a significant impact.
If you start to look closely, products from food to crafts and services from design to engineering can be purchased or provided from locally-owned and operated businesses. I know firsthand this has had a positive impact on our local businesses and I find myself thankful for the “Buy Local” movement. We can all play a role in supporting the community in which we live and work so support your local businesses, buy American made products, and enjoy the Holiday season and have a prosperous new year!
-David Tuch, President
Here are a couple of places to start your buy local endeavors:
The Asheville Grown Business Alliance and the Asheville City Schools Foundation are co-sponsoring the Asheville Go Local card (http://www.facebook.com/avlgolocal?sk=wall) The Go Local Card raises money for Asheville City Schools PTOs and the Asheville City Schools Foundation while keeping our dollars local. The Go Local card costs only $15.00 and represents hundreds of dollars in discounts. For each card sold, the selling PTO keeps $5.00. Another $5.00 goes to the Asheville City Schools Foundation which makes educational equity and teaching grants available to Asheville City schools classrooms and teachers. Buy yours at your local school, or at http://acsf.org/get-involved/go-local-card.php
Blue Ridge Food Ventures, a service of Advantage West, is an 11,000 sq. ft. shared-use kitchen incubator and natural products manufacturing facility that offers support in product development, regulation guidance, advice on packaging and label design, and much more. To purchase delicacies produced locally through BRFV go to http://www.advantagewest.com/content.cfm/content_id/336/section/food
For a list of local businesses that are part of the Asheville Grown Business Alliance go to http://ashevillegrown.wordpress.com/