Indie Impact Study Series
People throw all kinds of numbers around about what percentage of our dollars goes back into the local economy, but most of those numbers are based on data that was collected years ago in other parts of the country. In late 2017, we decided to team up with Civic Economics and Oklahoma's Credit Union to conduct an economic survey that would show us the true impact of independent, locally-owned businesses here in Oklahoma.
Since it's establishment in 2002, Civic Economics has conducted a number of studies comparing the economic impacts of independent, locally-owned businesses with that of their chain competitors. In order to do this, local businesses open their books to demonstrate the proportion of revenue spent in five categories:
Profits paid out to local owners,
Wages paid to local workers,
Procurement of goods & services for internal use,
Procurement of local goods for resale, and
Charitable giving within the community.
Our survey included research based on data provided from 12 locally-owned businesses in the Oklahoma City metro. Thanks to Blue Seven, Collected Thread, District House, Fabrics Unlimited, Green Bambino, Learning Tree, Native Roots Market, Opolis Clothing, Pirates Alley, Provision Kitchen, The Black Scintilla, and Tree & Leaf for generously giving their time and information!
THE 10% SHIFT
Based on the 2012 Economic Census, Oklahoma County produces annual retail store sales across all lines of goods (excluding motor vehicles and gas stations) of roughly $9.5 billion. Assuming our Indie Impact Survey provides a representative sample of local independent retailers, a spending shift of just 10% from chains to independents would help retain an additional $300 million in the regional economy every year. Now imagine what kind of difference we could create if this idea spread across the entire state! It's not about spending more, it's about spending differently.
Our Indie Impact Study is just one in a long line of studies nationwide in which Civic Economics has applied a similar methodology to gain an understanding of the economic impact of independent, locally-owned businesses. In every case, the results have been undeniable: independent businesses bring substantial benefits to their local economies when comparedd to chain stores. While chains extract locally generated revenues from the community, independents are creating a cycle of local spending. The extra dollars in the local economy helps produce more jobs for residents, extra tax revenues for local government, more investment in commerical and residential districts, and enhanced support for local nonprofits which ultimately creates better places to live or visit!