The angle I didn't see addressed in the story was that Scarborough residents will now be discouraged from buying in Portland. This Balkanization of Maine business communities simply means people will be discouraged from buying things from not only out of state, but also out of town. Will the city of South Portland be the next to form it's own "buy local" campaign, or does the presence of Maine's largest mall inside the city limits disqualify it?
What's interesting is the Scarborough Buy Local founder Karen D'Andrea seems to be directly responding to my criticism that Buy Local campaigns only succeed in generating more business to its members.
"The real importance of buy local projects is not about getting businesses more business, it's about the community," D'Andrea said. "This will create a stronger, more sustainable local economy."
Contrast this to what some of the owners of the Scarborough businesses who signed on had to say:
Following this is another reguritation of the "success" story of "buy local" retailers to prove the campaign works. It shows that retailers who signed on did better - or as D'Andrea might put it, businesses got more business. There is no mention of the preservation of community or any improvements to the local economy.
Sue Bayley, general manager of Bayley's Lobster Pound, said she joined to help make the family business more visible to residents.
"Some people aren't aware of what's available to them outside the supermarket," Bayley said. "For the advertising alone, it's well worth the cost of joining."
Joe Palmieri, owner of Chicago Dogs on Route 1, also joined. He said it's a great way to promote small businesses in a down economy.
"Together, we are a lot stronger," he said.
D'Andrea snuck one more howler in at the end.
"This is a relatively new way to do business," D'Andrea said... "
This is a completely old way of doing business - ancient, in fact. The only difference now is people have a choice in where they buy things - they aren't humbled by mere geography and the distance their horse can take them in a day.
I'm sure D'Andrea means well, but for someone who has such a strong interest in economics, she doesn't have a good grasp of the basic concepts.