Buy Local Groups Succeed, Just Ask the Farmers
It isn’t easy establishing Independent Business/Buy Local associations. Independent business owners typically work long hours in the business and then are responsible for everything else as well. The Small Business Administration teaches that an owner has to spend as much time “on” the business as “in” the business to be a success.
Nevertheless, successful local businesses continue to work toward expansion of a local IBA – IBL. A list of the local businesses so far taking on the task appear at the IBuySt.Mary’s website. Patronize them for their fine work and products and also because the entire community benefits when you buy local.
Communities also benefit from strong Independent Business Associations which have across the country show their ability to attract more money into a community, making a stronger economy for us all. In Southern Maryland there are some excellent examples of how this direct marketing benefits business owners out of the region’s agricultural industry.
Some of the most successful, direct and effective I Buy Local efforts have been farmers markets across the country. In Southern Maryland initiatives to bring local farmers in direct contact with customers provide a number of venues, including the Home Grown Farm Market at 21078 Three Notch Road, Lexington Park, near the south gate to NAS: Pax River. The Home Grown Farm Market adheres to a strict producer-only policy to guarantee customers that the fresh produce, flowers, plants, meats, cheeses and baked goods available were produced at each vendor’s farm.
The proof of their overall economic value are efforts by state and local governments to encourage these markets as economic development. The Maryland Department of Agriculture provides an electronic, statewide listing not just farmers markets in Maryland, but local production of all types. Via an electronic Find Me Local questionnaire customers can search for anything from “fiber” to “Christmas trees” to “restaurants” that qualify.
The Home Grown Farm Market and the North St. Mary’s County Farmers Market were initiated with state and local seed funding and sites. The market in the north set up on the regional library’s grounds at the corner of Route 5 and Route 6 in Charlotte Hall, the southern market a part of a larger land preservation investment by the state.
But throughout Southern Maryland increasing numbers of privately owned markets are appearing and providing direct access to goods produced and manufactured in this community. In addition to the crops and food-stuffs from the farms, in Southern Maryland this includes seafood and meat. To see a list of St. Mary’s County markets click here.
Lenny’s and DB McMillans restaurants are proud to serve locally grown products. The restaurants are also founding members of the I Buy St. Mary’s effort to encourage and expand opportunities to provide customers with local products of all kinds.
If you are an independent businesses owner or represent an independent business in this area please visit the site and consider joining our effort.
To see how IBAs work and for a sampling of the successes these associations have had across the country visit American Independent Business Alliance and the National Federation of Independent Business.