Reciprocity, Buying Local and Living Local

I received an interesting message on a social media platform this week. The message was from a person I know through our children’s mutual activities and, in a more general sense as a fellow business person in Kona. It went, “ If you are going to order bulk cards this holiday season would you use me? …  We just launched bulk cards. Quick turnaround. $1.50 per card. Pretty please with sugar on top?” 

Over the years, I have seen their vehicles with graphics and other things that my business does. I always thought she has her supplier, and that’s fine. I know she knows what I do. She never bought from Kona Impact.

Slowly, I realized that it wouldn’t be right to support some who decided not to buy from me when they had the chance. It seems like the right course of (in)action to take. 

After over 15 years in business in a small population area, I have come to believe that there is a tremendous amount of reciprocity in my relationships with other businesses. I have enough restaurant clients to spend almost all my lunch money on companies that spend their money at my business. I have great providers, which are also my clients, for bookkeeping, vehicle repairs, car washes, electrical and plumbing work, and many more.

When I see a local business buying locally–it doesn’t have to be from Kona Impact–I immediately think of them as the kind of business from which I want to buy what I need. In contrast, when I see businesses that don’t source locally, I question my desire to support them.

Likewise, when I see business owners involved in the community doing volunteer work, I know those are the kind of people that I would prefer when it comes to choosing where I spend my money.

In the end, I want to live in a community where entrepreneurship thrives, and people who start or run a business can make a decent living. A big part of how this can happen is making an effort to source the goods and services you need locally, even if it hurts a bit.