Be Vocal. Buy Local. by Russell Dorsey

In lieu of the new Conway Area Chamber of Commerce “Be Vocal. Shop Local.” campaign we started thinking and discussing what it means to shop local (check out the video below).

Our first thought is always financial and involves an economic impact, but the truth is shopping local is much more involved and influential than just dollars. Shopping local supports not only those operators but also the state, county and city via sales tax which help to staff police stations, fire departments and government offices, but allows for diversity and uniqueness, and decreases the amount environmental impact from shipping. When we shop local we ensure our own dollars stay in the community and serve its community members. When we shop local the owners and employees tend to recycle their income back into the community.

Let’s start by discussing the bottom line of shopping local. According to, for every $100 spent with your local business approximately $68 stays within the community to support suppliers, business services, taxes, wages and community donations as opposed to $43 for “nonlocal” or “big box” stores. Here at Branch Out we have set up a program that generously gives back to our local economy called Upward Strokes. Because Conway shops locally with us Branch Out is able to support Conway and Faulkner county charities that include Pitza 42, Chase Race, University of Central Arkansas, Bethlehem House all the way up to United Way, Hospice, and Red Cross.

Convenience and price are often cited as the main reasons for shopping in other cities or with national chains, but the fact of the matter is our communities have more unique options. Price comparison usually stops at the sticker on the product, but in fact should be evaluated on the quality of service provided when deciding on your purchase, support after the sale, and even environmental impact. We would love for you to check out all of our fellow Conway Area Chamber of Commerce members by following the link here. We are sure you will be surprised at what all Conway has to offer!

Finally, a commonly overlooked aspect of shopping local is the environmental impact. Local businesses tend to establish in city centers, instead of in the margins and contribute to lower pollution, traffic congestion, habitat loss and urban sprawl. Shopping local can also assist in reducing packing of fresh produce, travel distance of airliners (greatest fuel consumption over any other mode of transport), and reduce the 11 billion gallon fuel consumption by ships during importation. We continually strive to find local suppliers of products that we commonly utilize, so that we may help to reduce the carbon footprint of transportion.

Stay connected and informed with what Conway has to offer by visiting the chamber, receiving their newsletter, and viewing their website.

We hope to see you in the local, independently owned and operated establishments in Conway.


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