The Advantages of Buying from an Independent Building Supplier

For over two decades, national chain retailers have been expanding at an alarming rate, displacing locally and independently owned material suppliers and hardware stores. While these mega-stores claim to have bargain prices and a huge inventory, buying your building products from local suppliers has many advantages for your community.

Studies conducted by Civic Economics found “that the local retailers return a total of 52 percent of their revenue to the local economy, compared to just 14 percent for the national chain retailers”. Independent suppliers recirculate a greater share of every dollar earned back into the community by utilizing local service providers, purchasing goods from other local businesses and creating jobs.

In an article from the Institute for Self-Reliance, Key Studies: Why Local Matters, they cite dozens of studies that detail the benefits realized when you “buy local”. One example is The San Francisco Retail Diversity Study that found “if residents were to redirect just 10 percent of their spending from chains to local businesses, that would generate $192 million in additional economic activity in San Francisco and almost 1,300 new jobs.” In the case of the chain stores, like Home Depot and Wal-Mart, the findings are that after the first year there is a steady decline in jobs.

Consumers and material buyers can also feel a negative impact. While online suppliers and chain stores offer supposed “bargains”, revenue could be lost if a long distance delivery arrives late, damaged or incomplete. In the building and construction industry, time is money, so the loss of even a day can have a big effect on the cost of the overall project to the customer. Higher project costs can mean layoffs, lower wages and even force local communities to increase prices for goods to make up for budget deficits.

Independent building suppliers and locally owned hardware stores have been consolidated at an alarming rate by two major companies who have captured roughly 30% of the market. We could see the loss of close-knit communities where we buy goods and services from businesses owned by our neighbors and friends. But there is hope on the horizon. There has been a new movement from communities rejecting chain stores. Local planning boards across the country are being urged by the residents to block these national chains that have limited ties and no long term commitment to the welfare of the residents.

By choosing to buy your building materials from independent suppliers like Merrimack Building Supply, you will be contributing to the growth and development of your community as well as getting the benefit of local knowledge and expertise.

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