by | Feb 25, 2018

A benefit of shopping local: Entrepreneurs are the foundation of our communities

So it was a story about a Philadelphia entrepreneur that inspired us today. You can read about Judy Wick’s work in The Philadelphia Citizen. It made us think about one more important benefit of shopping local. 

Like many entrepreneurs, she found an idea that she felt passionate about and was compelled to see it to fruition. Her idea was to open a restaurant in Philly in the early 80s when it might not have seemed a promising venture. She was fortunate to have a mom and a grandmother that believed in her. Most importantly, they were able to fund her too. From there, it seems, she also launched her career as a social, local, business activist. And now “retired” from the restaurant, she works to better her community and the world at large.

In short, she has created a program called The Circle of Aunts and Uncles that provides loans to entrepreneurs in Philly, mostly women and people of color, who would not otherwise have a lot of access to funding to start their dream businesses.

Her idea is simple. Not everyone has the resources or support of family members who can afford to give them the loans they need to fulfill their dreams to start their own businesses. And the Big Banks are no longer a resource for small business loans–particularly for women, POC, and underserved communities. She sums up the importance of what she is doing in the Philadelphia Citizen article this way:

“More and more, it’s becoming clear that the main struggle we’re having is corporation vs community. Corporations are controlling much more of the economy, food, media, government. We’re creating an energy field around the idea of local businesses.”


It’s quite a story and happily it is not unique. So the story about Judy Wicks made us think about our local Oakland small/independent business people. As we continue to meet merchants, we see an important pattern: Merchants almost always have an altruistic bent. They are fighting to make our communities better and stronger. We have not even scratched the surface of what our local retailers do… But what we have seen: they participate in community programs, lead neighborhood improvement groups, and they give portions of their profits to local causes. They are the heart and soul of Oakland. And their love for oakland is deep.

510Brand on Grand Ave in Oakland California

Merchants wear their love for Oakland on their sleeves and doorways.

More reasons to shop locally

Of course, this is just one small story of one benefit. If you want to read about this topic, you must visit this Institute of Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) blog. It succinctly outlines some of the most important benefits of shopping local. In fact, the entire website is an invaluable resource and worth your time perusing.

For us, the biggest benefit of shopping locally is something that cannot be quantified: It enhances our own lives and the lives of those around us.

Before you go

Tell us about your favorite local hero. Who inspires you?

We want to focus on this topic for future Blogs! We want to feature some local heroes and check out their shops.

And, if you liked this blog

Check out some others here! We are passionate about living and loving local!

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