“Buy Local” is no longer just a catchphrase or a hashtag in Kansas City, said organizers of a new metro-wide initiative led by KCSourceLink, local business leaders and community influencers.
BuyKC aims to help increase sales for all local, independently owned businesses and build awareness of these economic powerhouses for consumers and corporate buyers, said Jenny Miller, network builder at KCSourceLink.
“We want this to be a regular resource where consumers can shop for themselves, family and friends and where businesses can source locally for their services, supplies and supply chains,” said Miller said. “Buying locally ensures a greater investment — both social and economic — in our local communities by increasing jobs and keeping more money flowing through local economies.”
BuyKC includes B2B, B2C, brick and mortar, and online businesses and pinpoints shops with physical in-store shopping locations on a map.
Click here to explore BuyKC and its featured businesses.
The initiative allows businesses to showcase their products and services with a photo as well as searchable keywords and self-reported demographic criteria and allow consumers to search and learn more about locally owned and operated companies — all from one website: BuyKC.org.
Local businesses will also have access to the BuyKC logo mark for their product, storefront or website to identify themselves as a local-first business.
“It’s a great way to join an effort and movement that celebrates local businesses,” said Jared Campbell, BuyKC co-founder and community leader with the Downtown Community Improvement Districts. “Your most important step is to put local first. When you can, support a local small business. Rethink your coffee shop. Go to pop-ups for your holiday shopping. Eat at a local, independently owned restaurant. Patron a spa or health club. Use a local designer for your home addition. Think about how you can localize your supply chain. The choice is yours, and the impact is significant.”
There is no cost to create a business listing or to use the directory. All listings will be independently owned in the Kansas City area. This means no corporate chains, no franchises, no MLMs. However, franchises that are headquartered in KC are welcome to join the movement.
The “Buy Local” movement started in 2013 in Kansas City with KCSourceLink’s shop local directory and map as a part of a campaign during Global Entrepreneurship Week. Fast forward to 2021, and several local business owners and advocates are adding some extra firepower to the initiative through BuyKC.
BuyKC breathes new life into the cause, updating it to include not just brick-and-mortar businesses but also online businesses and businesses that sell to other businesses.
“What we are doing with BuyKC is exceptionally special and integral for the growth of our local businesses. Kansas City businesses and consumers deserve this,” said Tom Paolini, BuyKC co-founder and local business owner of Paolini Garment Company. “We wanted to make it easier to find and support veteran-owned businesses, Latinx-businesses, Black-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, LBGTQ-owned businesses. It’s all inclusive. And we wanted to help create a place where corporations could source local and diverse suppliers.”
Putting local first matters — not only adding uniqueness to the city, but also supporting its economic powerhouses: the small businesses that create jobs, organizers said.
Sixty percent of all new local jobs are created by KC startups, defined as first-time employers with fewer than 20 employees, according to KCSourceLink. And when you spend $100 at a local-first business, $68 stays in our community, compared with $43 with a national chain.
Have a KC business? Click here to sign up for free.