Buy Local: Why Localism

Localism is a movement all about interacting with local businesses to foster relationships within the community for the benefit of the business, consumer, and city. It’s about cities reinvesting in dilapidated buildings, turning them into companies or condos, and revitalizing once-abandoned areas of town. Hampton Station—where our office is located in Greenville, SC—is localism done right because of these very reasons.

With five days to Christmas, it is the perfect time to buy local.

“Localism encompasses our relationships with the people who grow our food, offer local goods and services, and invest in our enterprises…”   from

A local taco shop across from Lever Gear offices.  

Buy Local: Why it Matters

A study by Civic Economics Survey showed on average, locally owned businesses in Wayne County, Utah kept 65.9% of revenue in their local community, while 13.6% of national chains’ revenue went to local communities. This means the more money we put into local businesses, the more our communities benefit.  If each person shifted a small percentage of their spending to their local economy, our communities could blossom. Localism is about relationships, and I believe that fostering opportunities for local businesses matters to our well-being as a community and society at large.

Graph of Revenue Re-circulation of national chains vs independents
Source: Civic Economics Survey of Independent Businesses

Buy Local: Greenville, South Carolina

Our new home in Greenville, South Carolina is a microcosm of how communities can thrive or struggle based on geographic consumer patterns. In the mid 20th century, Western Carolina, and Greenville in particular, was the textile capital of the U.S. and arguably the world. But as the economy became more global and textile production moved overseas, the local economy was decimated. Today, the region is undergoing a revival thanks to a diverse mix of industries, a growing trend towards supporting local business, and new collaborative workspaces and think tanks.

Our founder, Mike, first started dreaming up such co-op spaces in San Francisco where he created a collaborative space for artists and innovators. Seeking something similar on the East Coast, when Mike first visited Hampton Station, he knew this place would be ideal for his Lever Gear vision.We, and many other small businesses,  are located at Hampton Station in Greenville, SC. The property is a refurbished cotton storage warehouse that was built in 1919. Now Hampton Station sells itself as a new approach to work and play—the perfect description, in my opinion.With several unique local businesses, a beirgarten, and open green space, Hampton Station provides a fun space for the community. The businesses in Hampton Station—like all good, small companies—support and celebrate each other. It is localism at its best.

Lever Gear is also around the corner from another local hot spot: Swamp Rabbit Café & Grocery. Swamp Rabbit Café works to create a thriving environment for small local farmers. My family has a micro farm, and the Swamp Rabbit Café never turns away our produce. I shop the Grocery several times a week and enjoy the experience, people, and farmer’s products.

I am grateful for my community and the opportunities it has given my family. After work-life in a global corporation, I became dependent on my local communities; buying artisan beer, locally grown vegetables, farm fresh eggs, and local art. Part of being a localist is understanding how powerful our daily shopping decisions are to our local communities.

The frisée pictured above is from my husband’s farm,

The is a local 501c3 that partners with Swamp Rabbit Café to help children learn social responsibility through bicycles!

Buy Local: It’s Never Too Late

Finally, if you’re like me, you missed the online shopping deadline. But, after learning about the benefits of buying local, I’ll buy my last-minute gifts locally on these last days of holiday shopping. If you’re local and want to pick up a last minute Toolcard Pro, you can come by Lever Gear Monday – Friday from 9a – 5p. We will also be open this Saturday, December 23 from 1p – 5p for everyone wanting to support our small business and Greenville!