How a ‘buy local’ attitude made a $528M economic impact

A great study was released earlier this month. The story was covered in the Phoenix Business Journal, but let me summarize:

Wist Office Products

Wist Office Products is Arizona's largest independent office supplies dealer.

A group called Local First Arizona conducted a study – they claim it’s the first fully scientific study that measures the economic impact of a single employer – which found that Arizona’s largest workers’ compensation insurer, SCT Arizona, had a $528.3 million economic impact in Arizona in 2009 when they began sourcing 80% of their purchases from other Arizona businesses, including a switch from Minneapolis-based Corporate Express to Tempe-based Wist Office Products Co for their office supplies. (Note: This is an updated to an earlier version – see comments.)

“We compared 1,000 products, and were able to move over to Wist without paying more for anything,” says Rick DeGraw, SCF’s chief of staff.

Also mentioned in this story is Local First Arizona’s attempt to convince the State of Arizona to switch its $5 million office supply contract with OfficeMax to an Arizona-based company. The group organized a study in 2007 that showed the state’s $5 million office supply contract was losing $500,000 in “leakage” by not switching to a local supplier.

The Numbers Don’t Lie…
More general studies have been boasting the economic benefits of ‘buying local’ for many years. A 2002 Economic Impact Analysis in Austin, Texas, was one of the first major studies to examine the impact of shopping at local businesses versus national chains. It found that, for every $100 spent at a local bookstore or CD store, $45 stayed in the local economy. For every $100 spent at Borders, however, the local economic impact was only $13.

A study in Maine the following year yielded similar results: Shopping local kept three times more money in the local economy than shopping at chains.

It’s not always an easy decision, but buying local increases a community’s self-reliance and local businesses make Central Texas unique! After all, it’s your money – keep it local!

See more about Buying Local on our website at

– Bonnie

About Perry Office Plus
We're Central Texas' largest independent office products & furniture dealer and have been locally owned and operated since our establishment in 1920. Visit our website to shop for all your office supplies and call any of our fantastic Customer Service Reps if you have any questions or need help with your office products.

4 Responses to How a ‘buy local’ attitude made a $528M economic impact

  1. Bonnie — This is a terrific post. While you’re referring to buying local from Perry, the message is universal. We need to be supporting our hometown businesses — most especially when they are competitive with the big box places.


  2. russ says:

    thanks for posting! Just to clarify, the $528M impact is not solely from switching to Wist but from sourcing over 80% of their total goods & services locally. Choosing Wist over the out-of-state company was their latest move.

    The decision for individuals to shop local becomes easier with every post like this, raising awareness of the path your money takes once it leaves your hand is key. There are plenty of terrific local options out there. Thanks so much!

    If you’re interested in more studies that show the benefits of supporting locally owned businesses:

    Thanks again Bonnie!


  3. Bonnie Hunt says:

    Oops! In my attempt to summarize, I left out too much! Thanks for the clarification – I have corrected it above. Thanks for what your organization is doing!


  4. Great point! We can have an impact as an individual choosing to eat at a local restaurant instead of a national chain, and our businesses can make an impact by working with other local businesses. Keep going up the food chain and the impact just gets bigger and better! I’m impressed that the government is leading the way. Maybe we’ll get the California government to follow suit!


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