Economic benefits of shopping local


Last Thursday, a group of local potters got together at a neighborhood restaurant to host a last minute holiday sale.  Our original idea for this event sprung from our desire to do something together.  

stephanie boyd works vases and H&V beer

We’ve held this event only twice but it is already one of our favorites.  We get so much pleasure from seeing our work gathered together in one place, oohing and ahhing over each others’ creations, helping each other set up our displays, operating our online payments systems, and sharing French fries.   The relaxed atmosphere gives us more time to talk with those who attend and meet new friends.


But we also feel good about being part of the local economy and the benefits that buying local brings to our region. 


Amrita Lash and customer

A 2009 article in Time Magazine, explains: “…when you buy local more money stays in the community. The New Economics Foundation, an independent economic think tank based in London, compared what happens when people buy produce at a supermarket vs. a local farmer's market or community supported agriculture (CSA) program and found that twice the money stayed in the community when folks bought locally.


"That means those purchases are twice as efficient in terms of keeping the local economy alive," says author and NEF researcher David Boyle.”

Boyle also notes that “many local economies are languishing not because too little cash comes in, but as a result of what happens to that money. "Money is like blood. It needs to keep moving around to keep the economy going," he says, noting that when money is spent elsewhere—at big supermarkets and other services such as on-line retailers—"it flows out, like a wound."



I like to think about the where the pottery money flows and how we make an impact on our local economy – we buy many of our supplies from Sheffield Pottery, a clay supply house in Sheffield, MA; we rent spaces on Spring St to showcase our wares; we teach classes; we attend classes; we pay for booths at farmer’s markets and craft shows; we hire electricians and carpenters to make improvements in our studios; we purchase greenery from florists to show off our pots. 


At events like this recent one, our customers buy our goods but also buy snacks and meals and drinks at Hops and Vines, who in turn pay their employees and purchase local grown food.  All of these transactions help our local economy thrive. 


And in the spirit of the holiday season, we chose to make a contribution to a local non-profit.  Last year we donated to the Berkshire Food Project.  This year we are collectively making a $500 gift to Berkshire Immigrant Center, a percentage of our take at this sale. 


All of this is thanks to you! 


We recognize that our goods are more expensive than mass produced products you can find online on in big box stores but we like to think that the value is much greater – to the economic benefit to our community and to those who experience the pleasure of using a unique handmade object.  


If you missed this event and you are in the market for something let us know.  Contact information for the participating artists is noted below.

Stephanie Boyd: or

Anne Hogeland:

Suzy Konecky:

Amrita Lash https: or

Molly O’Trova:

Jackie Sedlock: or

Sandra Thomas:

Diane Sullivan: or