“Shop local” is more than just a catchy chamber of commerce slogan.
When consumers spend money at businesses in their communities, they keep those communities economically healthy. The sales tax revenue from their purchases flows to their local city or village government, as well as to their home county’s government.
It’s also a critical way to keep local merchants – whose services they rely upon at least once in awhile – in business.
Residents in the Genoa-Kingston area had a shock recently when both of the local grocery stores, Browns’ County Market and Genoa Produce Carniceria, closed within days of each other.
Now if they want to buy groceries, residents must take a trip out of town, either north to Belvidere or south to Sycamore or DeKalb.
Although some residents said they already were doing this sometimes, no one will have much choice unless and until a new grocery store tenant is found to give it a go, probably in the old Browns’ building at 600 Pearson Drive.
While residents are burning gas driving to get groceries, they’ll also be spending their money – and contributing sales-tax revenue – to those communities. If they drive up to Belvidere, their taxes not only won’t go to their hometown, they won’t go to DeKalb County, either.
Meanwhile, the city of Genoa will have about $70,000-a-year in lost sales-tax revenue.
Obviously, as Americans we enjoy the benefits of the free market, which expects consumers to act in their own best interests when making purchases.
Given the economic climate, the rising costs of health care and other stressors on our budgets, many people usually define their best interest as stretching their dollar as far as they can, even if it means driving out of town to shop elsewhere.
However, the lowest possible price isn’t always in the best interest of a consumer, at least not if it means their hometown will face lost tax revenue and the lost convenience of having a local grocery store.
Our hope is that Genoa will be able to recruit a new grocer or two who can serve the area with prices that are competitive enough to be viable.