Community Spotlight: Dane Buy Local

 By Melissa Ripp, Marketing Coordinator, Drake & Company Staffing Specialists

danebuylocal 1When Drake & Company was founded by Leanne and Gary Starr over 36 years ago, Paul Soglin was Madison’s mayor—the first time around, The Eagles’ “Hotel California” won “Record of the Year” at the GRAMMY’s, and John Irving’s The World According to Garp was the book that no one could seem to put down.

Although there have been plenty of best-selling books and award-winning albums since January 1978, there are two things that haven’t changed about the way Drake & Company operates. The first? Well, we have the same dedication to matching our candidates’ skills and personalities with the needs of businesses—and the second is that we’ve never wavered on our commitment to serving our Madison community in a variety of ways. We’d like to take the time to showcase one of those community efforts in particular—our involvement with Dane Buy Local.

As a woman-owned, Madison-based business, one of the organizations that is near and dear to our heart is Dane Buy Local, or as we like to call it, DBL. Drake & Company and our CEO, Kelly Starr-King, have a long history with DBL, dating back to the first year of its inception. “I still remember one of those first Dane Buy Local meetings in 2004,” Kelly says. “I was thrilled to find an organization in the Madison area that was committed to giving local businesses a more level playing field, and it was wonderful to sit with a small group of members in the Memorial Union, giving opinions and suggestions for how DBL could further its reach.”

Drake & Company was the seventeenth member of Dane Buy Local, and Kelly served as the Chair of DBL’s Board of Directors from 2008-2010. During that time, the membership increased from 200 to 400 members, and several key organizational initiatives were introduced, including a gift certificate/gift card program, the hiring of Dane Buy Local’s first full-time staff member, and events such as the Dane Buy Local Venetian Night and the Holiday Marketplace. Kelly was asked to rejoin the DBL board in January 2014, and she’s happy to once again be part of DBL, who she calls “a forward-thinking organization that works to create a sustainable and vital local economy.” Today, Dane Buy Local has nearly 800 members and is recognized nationally as one of the most influential “Buy Local” organizations in the United States on a city/countywide scale.

You might be asking, “What does ‘buy local’ mean, exactly?” Buying local is making the choice to purchase locally-produced goods and services over those purchased farther away. Early on in the history of purchasing goods, there were so many incentives to buy locally that no one had to make a point to do so—you just did, because it was easier to purchase items you needed in your area rather than wait a few weeks for it to be shipped from somewhere else. In the present day, it’s commonly perceived that purchasing something from a big-box store is less expensive, but there can be plenty of added costs (packaging, transport, etc.).

There are so many benefits to shopping local; however, we know that sometimes, it’s not always possible to purchase what we need locally—and that’s okay. DBL asks that you think local first—not think local only.

Buying local:

Builds community.

As DBL says on their website, businesses are the ultimate social networking sites! The encounters you have at area businesses allow you to build relationships and feel that sense of community that all of us love being a part of.

Helps to strengthen the local economy.

According to DBL, each dollar spent at an independent business returns three times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain.

Shapes a community’s personality.

Enough said. Independent businesses–whether it’s your neighborhood hardware store or your favorite café on the corner—give the communities we live in a personality boost.

Creates a healthier environment.

A small, locally-owned business actually has a reduced carbon footprint! They typically consume less land, carry more locally-made products, and create less traffic and air pollution.

Lowers taxes.

More efficient land use and more central locations mean locally-owned business put less demand on our roads, sewers, and safety services—and they also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar.

If you have any questions about Dane Buy Local, we encourage you to head to their website—it’s full of great information about how to get involved.

Melissa AM0A01277Melissa Ripp is the Marketing Coordinator at Drake & Company, a staffing firm based in Madison, Wisconsin. Drake & Company specializes in temporary, temp-to-hire, and direct hire administrative, clerical, and legal placements. For over 36 years, Drake has reached beyond skills and qualifications to match candidate personalities with a company’s culture. You can find Melissa on Google+, and you can find follow Drake & Company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ , and Pinterest.