Local Economy

Support a local, living economy


In collaboration with the West Marin Chamber of Commerce and Marin Organic, Steve Costa, Kate Levinson, and Point Reyes Books initiated "Think Local First," a campaign to educate residents and the more than 2.5 million annual visitors to West Marin about the benefits of buying local products and supporting small, independent businesses.

West Marin isn't threatened by big box stores in the immediate vicinity, but the continued existence of unique and locally owned stores, businesses, and farms is challenged by the dollars residents spend at distant stores or at online booksellers. We believe that a vibrant, sustainable community is one in which dollars cycle locally.

Why shop locally?

When you shop at local businesses like Point Reyes Books you also support the local community. We adapted the following list from Massachussetts' Pioneer Valley Local First website, as each of these points apply to businesses in West Marin.

  1. Significantly More Money Re-circulates In Local Communities. When you shop at locally owned, independent businesses more money is kept in the community because local businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Buying locally helps grow other businesses as well as our region's tax base.
  2. Non Profits Receive Greater Support. Non-Profits often receive greater support from local business owners, sometimes as much as 350% more money, than they do from non-locally owned businesses.
  3. Unique Businesses Are An Integral Part Of Our Distinctive Character. The unique character of West Marin is what brought us here and will keep us here. We believe Point Reyes Books and other local businesses contribute to the unique character of this place.
  4. Environmental Impact Is Reduced. Local businesses make more local purchases requiring less transportation and usually set up shop in town centers rather than on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, resource depletion and pollution.
  5. Most New Jobs Are Provided By Local Businesses. Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally.
  6. Customer Service Is Often Better. Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise and they invest in their employees for better customer service.
  7. Local Business Owners Invest In Our Community. Local businesses are owned by people who live in the community, are less likely to leave, and are invested in the community's future.
  8. Put Your Taxes To Good Use. Local businesses in city and town centers require comparatively little infrastructure investments, add more to our tax base and make more efficient use of public services.
  9. Competition And Diversity Leads To More Consumer Choices. A marketplace of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and lower prices over the long-term.
  10. A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

Amazon and Empty Storefronts

In 2015 the American Booksellers Association released a groundbreaking new study, “Amazon and Empty Storefronts,” which details the overall negative impact that Amazon has had on Main Street retailers and jobs, and the communities in which they are located, across the country. The report found that even counting the jobs in Amazon distribution centers, Amazon sales produced a net national loss of 135,973 retail jobs, and the study showed that a total of more than $1 billion in revenue is lost to state and local governments.

To read more about this study, visit Civic Economics.