Have you seen that episode of “Portlandia” where they try to hunt down the chicken from a farm-to-table restaurant and meet him? That playful send-up of the so-called “localvore” craze might be far-fetched, but people are going to greater lengths than ever before to shop and eat locally.
Have you thought about buying locally, but you think it’s more expensive and don’t know the best way to support Colorado-based businesses? Have no fear, it’s easier than you may think.
Why Buy Local?
Studies by the American Independent Business Alliance (AIBA) on “The Multiplier Effect of Local Businesses” conducted in recent years have shown the importance of shopping locally. According to AIBA, almost half of every dollar spent locally is recirculated back into the local economy compared to just 14 cents of every dollar spent at national chains. Simply put, shopping locally has a huge impact.
As you pay for different goods and services, it’s important to be clear about what you value most. We like locally grown produce. Therefore we hunt down those Palisade peach stands and Pueblo green chile booths wherever we can find them.
Food is relatively easy to shop for on a local level because most stores are now marking Colorado-made items. Thanks to the now-familiar Colorado Proud labeling at the grocery store, we no longer have to guess where our products—especially produce—originated.
Although labeling makes shopping local at the grocery store easier, the best place to find local produce (during the growing season) are farmer’s markets. We head out on a nice weekend morning and buy all of the great produce we can hold. A great tip is to befriend the vendors to potentially get discounts and perks.
Where to Buy?
It’s easy to shop locally in Colorado. If you’re not sure where to begin, always start by asking your friends and family for recommendations. Just moved to the state? If you live in or are planning to visit the Western Slope, pick up a couple bottles of wine from 2 Rivers Winery in Grand Junction. And for the folks in Northern Colorado, visit one of the many brew pubs in Fort Collins with your favorite designated driver.
Treat Yo’ Self
Where Do You Go Out?
Going out is perhaps the easiest way to spend your dollars locally. Do you have a favorite local restaurant that you like to visit? Or, do you prefer to go to St. Marks on 17th Street where the barista knows your name and how you take your coffee?
Colorado has a very strong sense of pride in its locally produced goods and services. In case you’re wondering about what items are made in Colorado in addition to the obvious (Sam Elliott’s voice has no doubt reminded you hundreds of times which mountains Coors gets their water from) here’s a short-list of amazing Colorado products:
- Silk and Horizon dairy/soy/nut milks (White Wave Products)
- Stranahan’s Whiskey (make sure you take the distillery tour!)
And, the list goes on. Our spirit of innovation and creativity is fed by our continued support of the products that we make in our wonderful state. The Denver Business Journal reported last year that the majority of Colorado businesses are small businesses.
Supporting local small businesses is just one of the many ways everyone in Colorado can feel connected to one another. Do you have a favorite local place? Leave it in the comments!