The Power of the Local Dollar


Thinking local from the start of your economic impact, i.e. where you spend your dollar, not only shows your values and makes a tangible impact on the world, but by spending money at independently owned establishments, more of your dollar recirculates in the community it was spent in.

Numerous studies have demonstrated this principle, with one study conducted in Salt Lake City, Utah, by Civic Economics that compared what percentage of a dollar stays in the community when spent in an independently owned local store versus a national chain. This study grouped four national chains present in Salt Lake (Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Office Max, and Target) and three national restaurant chains (Darden, McDonald’s, and P.F. Chang’s), and pitted a dollar spent in any of those establishments within the city against one spent at a combination of 15 independently owned local businesses and seven independent restaurants.

The result? About 14% of the dollar spent at national chains recirculated to the Salt Lake community; while 52% of the dollar spent at independent establishments remained in the community.


Now that’s buying power.

*Note: This infographic is based on a 2012 study set in Salt Lake City, Utah. Research by Civic Economics. Designed by Becca Loux and Mayumi Elegado, made by Sarah Miller/Moonshine Ink


  • Becca Loux

    Becca Loux relocated to Truckee on a mission to tell stories that are fact-checked and data-driven without sacrificing the human element. She is an avid hiker, biker, skater, surfer, boarder, kayaker, sun-worshiper, and all other important "-ers" relating to the outdoors. Becca's wolfpack recently expanded to include a teenage husky named Koda.

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