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The Impact Beyond the Purchase

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In Elkhart County, we make things. RVs, boats, vehicle components, stadium sound systems, musical instruments, diagnostic test strips, fire-fighting equipment … even English muffins. If we don’t make it we distribute it.

Most of these products are not purchased locally. Elkhart County does not have enough driveways to park all the RVs we produce. Though we are blessed with many waterways, we do not have enough dock space to contain all the boats we build. We do not have enough toasters to prepare all the English muffins.

Clearly, our economy is built on producing and distributing items that are used elsewhere. Because we are an international economy, we might forget the importance of local purchasing.

Local purchasing provides a backbone to the economy. It supports the employees and the livability of the entire community.

For example, a team of workers finish their shift at a local company. They have just completed a product that will be shipped to China in the morning. Hank needs to stop by the Concord Mall to pick up a gift for his wife. (He forgot their anniversary) Maggie needs to stop on the way home to fill up her gas tank at Casey’s gas station. Then she will stop by Martin’s Super Markets to get a couple steaks to grill. Fred and Bob are going to McCarthy’s to meet friends for dinner.

In this example, not only did Hank, Maggie, Fred and Bob earn a salary to benefit their lives, they also spread the support to the workers at Concord Mall, Casey’s, Martin’s and McCarthy’s. Those workers may have their own errands and obligations that will spread the wealth even further.

If Hank rushed home to buy his gift online, if Maggie purchased her steaks from a mail-order company, the spread of wealth through the community would stop. If other patrons didn’t support McCarthy’s over the years, there would be no great restaurant for Fred and Bob to meet friends and enjoy their quality of life.

In order for local economies to thrive, the population must support the businesses that invest heavily in their businesses and communities.
Local businesses of all types support the community through a “multiplier effect” -- one dollar spent with a locally owned business can return up to five times that amount within the community through city/county taxes, employee wages, and purchase of materials and supplies at other local businesses.


Robert L. Thatcher, CRX, CSM, CLS, CMD, CDP, General Manager & Director of Leasing at Concord Mall, says shopping centers are the Crown Jewels of community economic development.  They support vast numbers of jobs, multiple streams of tax revenues that provide for our schools, police and fire protection and in many ways our overall quality of life.  National chain brands offer all types of merchandise.  Add to that the importance of incubating new, entrepreneurial – boutique retailers with unique merchandise offerings effectively providing another level of excitement and what is often referred to as experiential retail. “Blend great food, entertainment and community events and you have the proven recipe for success; whether in traditional shopping venues or gentrified urbanism,” said Thatcher.

Thatcher is a former Board Member of the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce and serves as the Co-Chair of the Economic Development/Legislative Affairs Council.  He adds, “An age - old economic truth  ‘Capital Flows to where it is respected and well treated’ captures the essence of what Concord Mall has embraced with respect to our commitment to the community and regional market place.  It applies to all of us however, regardless of the role we play.  

As our community collectively embraces these ideals and supports each other’s local businesses, our economy becomes exponentially more dynamic, prosperous and hence, attractive.”

Local businesses reinvest dollars back into the community through school funding, social services, and contributions to local non-profit organizations.

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