What’s the state of buy local?

Two ends of Minnesota’s retail spectrum are drawing our attention this week: Target and Peapods.

Target, the giant Minneapolis-based retailer, turned in a solid third quarter but acknowledged being cautious about the holiday season.

minnecon.smallicon.gifPeapods, the locally owned St. Paul toy store, will host an event on Thursday intended to get people to buy local. It’ll include the Metro Independent Business Alliance and the group MN2020, which will release its study on the economic impact of buying local.

I don’t have anything smart to say about Target. But the Thursday event has me wondering how local merchants and the buy-local effort will do this year in the recession.

That’ll depend on you. How important is it for you to buy local from a small business? What are the pros and cons? Contact me directly and let me know if it makes a difference who owns the store where you shop.

I’ll post responses and we’ll get a conversation going.

Earlier this year we highlighted an effort led by Northfield fourth- and fifth-graders to get people to buy from the downtown stores after learning a couple were closing. The result was the “Northfield First” pledge.

“We had over 400 people sign the pledge,” Michelle Martin, the Northfield teacher whose discussion with her kids about the economy helped spark the “Northfield First” effort, told us recently.

“Some merchants told me there was a lot of buzz about it, whether or not it translated to more sales would be impossible for me to say,” said Martin, a source in MPR’s Public Insight Network. “It definitely shifted the understanding of my students and many of their families.”

Drop a line and let us know your take. If shopping local is not a big deal for you, tell us why. Peapods and Target could benefit from the perspective.

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