What counts as a good local business?

I’d like to start out by pointing out that I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, sort of around Seattle. I was just back there for a week, and as a result didn’t get to use my Be Local in Durango.

But I did try to buy local where I could while I was in Seattle. The nice thing was that I didn’t have to stay in a hotel or anything like that, but I did have to fly there (does a plane built for the Canadian market by Boeing (a Seattle area company) and resold to a US based business count as a local product??). Airfare is one of those things that are difficult to manage in terms of ecology, economy and sanity, so I’m going to skip over the implications of it for now.

My two meals out were at a small pub that’s been in Seattle for years, I’m not sure it has ever been anything else. I ordered the Dungeness Crab Soup (local crab) and a mac ‘n cheese for the other meal. I don’t feel that those where bad choices. Plus they had cider on tap, not local but that isn’t very common outside of the Olympic Peninsula.

My local quandary was “If you’re in Seattle and there is no independent coffee shop within walking distance, does Starbucks count as a local business?”.  For some people they’d probably just opt to not have the coffee (sorry, not that dedicated after two days of travel and dealing with small cousins for hours on end), but I had my coffee. Nothing very fancy, at least from the Seattle/Starbucks perspective. Starbucks is a Seattle company, Howard still lives in Seattle even, and if you haven’t been to Seattle I’ll let you know that they are all over the place.

Does the fact that Starbucks is a megs-corporation out weigh the fact that it is a local company? How about REI? They’re from Seattle too. Costco is a tough call, the owners live in Seattle and the company is headquartered in Kirkland. Boeing builds planes just south of Seattle.

Does it matter the size of the local business you are supporting with your dollars?

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