Buying NC Local: Why it Matters
By Kimberly Hoffman
Sweet potatoes, pecan pie, Bojangles Chicken 'n Biscuits, Krispy Kreme, Pepsi-Cola - the list of North Carolina-made products goes on and on. But why should you purchase products made in the Tar Heel State?
Buying NC local shows your North Carolina pride, keeps your money here in the state, and helps the economy by saving jobs and keeping tax dollars in your community.
And that doesn’t even cover the freshness of food made here or the eco-friendly benefits of less packaging and fuel costs spent hauling items here.
A pie made from pecans grown on North Carolina trees just tastes better. Bonus: There’s no need for a cardboard or paper box to ship it in -- just pull the pie out of the refrigerator.
6 Ways Buying NC Local Makes a Difference
1. Shows your North Carolina pride
Few places have earned bragging rights like the Tar Heel state. Home to three U.S. presidents, Bank of America, Texas Pete hot sauce, Lone Star Steakhouse (sorry, Texas), Fresh Market, and Food Lion grocery stores, everything you need is right here.
That’s where NC Made comes in. NC Made celebrates the artisanal foods made here, and ships tastes of North Carolina to friends and family all over the world. That’s why it’s worth noting that NC Made’s new curator is one of North Carolina’s own success stories.
A true Southerner, Tonya Council grew up in Chapel Hill, where she watched her grandma crack pecans for pies. Mildred Council – better known as “Mama Dip” – was a culinary legend in North Carolina, praised by celebrities, athletes, and presidents. She knew the importance of buying local.
Tonya followed in grandma's footsteps, cracking pecans, flipping eggs, and waiting tables. Today she continues the Council family tradition as the founder of Tonya’s Cookies and Sweet Tea & Cornbread.
2. Keeps your money in North Carolina
When you spend your money on locally-made goods at local stores, your tax dollars stay in North Carolina. That's money that pays for schools, libraries, roads, fire and police departments.
Buying NC local also saves local jobs. Small-business owners create opportunities for local residents to work in the community. With local restaurants taking a hit during the current pandemic, it's more important than ever to spend every taxable dollar in the state.
3. Tastes fresher from farm to table
By shopping local, your food doesn't have to travel hundreds or thousands of miles to get to your table. Your produce and baked goods will be days old, not weeks old.
Buying NC local gives you access to fresher, more nutritious food.
4. Benefits the environment
Since your food and goods don't need to travel far, it needs less packaging and takes less fuel to arrive at your home.
Buying NC local means less packaging, which translates to less waste in our landfills.
5. Celebrates NC’s diversity
Ever notice most malls across the country have the exact same chain stores? Locally owned shops offer a unique flavor all their own. Many of these businesses are minority-owned and offer a wide range of cultural diversity to your neighborhood.
In addition to overseeing her own businesses, Tonya actively promotes black-owned businesses. She buys local, but offers NC Made gourmet foods to an international market.
People from all over the world can now enjoy the Old North State's rich and diverse influences from African Americans and Western and Eastern Europeans.
“Seeing how hard it was to get in certain stores, I wanted to make it easier for other people to be able to showcase their brand as well,” she told the Triangle Tribune. “Life lessons came daily. The biggest lesson is trying to give back to the community whenever possible.”
6. Supports your neighbors
Perhaps the best reason to buy NC local is because you're supporting your neighbors. You're more than just another customer to the local merchant: You're his lifeblood.
Maybe that's why the customer service is often friendlier at your local stores.
Kimberly Hoffman is a restaurant critic and avid traveler who searches for the best restaurant in every city she visits. You won’t find her dining in any chain restaurants, preferring to sample the local cuisine in every city. The chefs in her favorites are willing to share their recipes with her.