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Studies Find Local Biz Creates Far More Local Economic Activity

Independent businesses have been found to generate between 60% and 300% more local economic activity that chain retail stores do. This has been the finding of the following economic impact studies:

Andersonville Study of Retail Economics October 20, 2004
  • For every $100 in consumer spending with a local firm, $68 remains in the Chicago economy.
  • For every $100 in consumer spending with a chain firm, $43 remains in the Chicago economy.

  • For every square foot occupied by a local firm, local economic impact is $179.
  • For every square foot occupied by a chain firm, local economic impact is $105.


The Economic Impact of Locally Owned Businesses vs. Chains: A Case Study in Midcoast Maine (4pg PDF) by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Friends of Midcoast Maine, September 2003
When residents of the Midcoast region spend $100 at a big box retailer, their purchase generates $14 in local spending by the retailer. That same $100 spent at a locally owned business generates $45 in local spending, or three times as much. Dollars spent at a local retailer support not only that store, but a variety of other local businesses, including local banks, accountants, printers, and internet service providers.

Economic Impact study in Austin, Texas
16pg PDF (2002, Civic Economics) A case study of the bookstore business, this report found that "spending $100 at Borders creates $13 worth of local economic activity, while spending $100 at the local stores generates $45 in local economic activity."


Summaries and links to these studies and many more on a variety of big-box store topics can be found at Hometown Advantage's Big Box Economic Impact Studies page.