Keep it local: Why it’s important to support local business

Frequenting local businesses helps keep jobs and money in the community. (Photo by Muy Yum used under Creative Commons license.)

By Ashleigh Buchanan, Staff Writer

As college students, we don’t really have a lot of money to spend on food. So it’s easy to go to Taco Bell for a cheap meal or run to Panera Bread for a cozy lunch. But what better way to spend our money than by supporting local shops and restaurants?  There are a lot of reasons that shopping locally is better than shopping at franchises, and hopefully I will convince you to trade your love for McDonalds in for a more socially/locally responsible choice!

By shopping locally, you are supporting the local economy. By supporting local business, you are keeping money and jobs here in Oklahoma. According to keepitlocalok.com, of every $100 that is spent at a locally owned business, $73 remains in the local economy and $27 leaves. But for every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, $43 remains in the local economy and $57 leaves.

I’ve seen how business can link people together and build community, as well as giving Oklahoma City more uniqueness. Have you ever been down to the Plaza District on 16th Street between Classen and Penn? How about the restaurants and businesses along 9th Street and Broadway? These are excellent examples of how a group of local businesses have redefined an area and made it a fun place to go instead of just a random street. Local businesses make it more fun to go exploring and find a place that defines local community.

Okay, so I know you’re thinking “There’s no way I could like a local business I like more than (insert generic chain restaurant/business here)!  And I get it; I like Chili’s chips and salsa as much as the next person. But I guarantee there is a better, local alternative to your favorite place! And I’m going to give you some suggestions to help you get started.

Instead of Qdoba, try Iguana Mexican Grill at 9 NW 9th street. Tip: On Tuesdays they have mini tacos for $1 each! Plus they have great chips and salsa.

Instead of ordering out Pizza Hut, go to Hideaway! With a location near SNU at 5501 NW Expressway, it’s a great spot for a big group of friends to go to.

Chili’s has great burgers, but you know who has even better burgers? Nic’s Grill at 11th and Penn. Nic’s is a great place to go for lunch (they are open from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.) when you need a break from Sodexo!

Tired of buying clothing at Target, and then awkwardly wearing that outfit the same day as someone else? Try shopping at Blue Seven at 7518 N May Ave! They have a lot of unique clothing, so you will be looking good and supporting local designers.

Want go to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the game? Try Republic in the Classen Curve for their HUGE TV’s and loud atmosphere.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather have my money go into the pockets of my “neighbors” rather than a big-shot CEO living in California, which is why I’m trying to choose local businesses over franchises more often. Will you join me in this mission to be great citizens of Oklahoma City and keep it local?

What do you think?