A Diversity of Vendors Brings Security

Recent Fire at Plano Recyclable Facility Reinforces the Value of Diversity in Choosing vendors for City Services—particularly when it comes to choosing those who deliver critical services such as trash/recyclable removal.

The tendency in selecting city services all over the USA seems to follow a big box Wall Street Corporate way of thinking as opposed to favoring diversified local services:   Perhaps city planners need to revisit this way of doing business.  

First of all we need to consider the value that local businesses provide the local economy in which they operate.  It’s a well-known fact that much more of the money earned by a locally based company stays and is re-circulated in the local community than the money earned by a multinational corporation providing the same services in that community. 

Here is what happens when individuals and city planner shop local

Source: Civic Economics – Andersonville Study of Retail Economics.

1. More of your money will be kept in your local economy

For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community.*

2. You embrace what makes your community unique

You wouldn’t want your house to look like everyone else’s in the U.S. So why would you want your community to look that way?

3. You create local jobs

Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for your neighbors. When you shop locally, you help create jobs for teachers, firemen, police officers, and many other essential professions.

4. You help the environment

Buying from a locally owned business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and less packaging.

5. You nurture community

Local business owners know you, and you know them. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.

6. You conserve your tax dollars

Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money available to beautify your community. Also, spending locally instead of online ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong— in your community!

7. You create more choice

Locally owned businesses pick the items and products they sell based on what they know you like and want. Local businesses carry a wid­er array of unique products because they buy for their own individual markets.

8. You took advantage of their expertise

You are their friends and neighbors, and locally owned businesses have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. They’re passionate about what they do. Why not take advantage of it?

9. You invested in entrepreneurship

Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business en­sures a strong community.

10. You made your community a destination

The more interesting and unique you community, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone!

The Story of What Happens When One Big Box Vendor Delivering Services Fails--the community loses 

Republic Services, the one vendor who handles all the services for picking up recyclables for Richardson and Plano is a huge multinational corporation that operates worldwide.   According to the hype on their website, they provide “dependable solutions for your recycling and waste challenges.”  It may be more economical and rewarding for the bottom line for their investors, but I think it’s neither responsible nor dependable to have only one recycling station to handle the recyclables for residents of two cities with combined populations of 378,884, which appears to be the setup they engineered for the cities of Plano and Richardson.

Now, as a result of one fire, all the recyclables will have to be hauled to the landfill until that point in time when Republic can be up and running again.  To measure up the economies of having the multinational corporation Republic deliver services, the City of Plano will need to figure in the cost of diverting all these recyclable goods to their landfill.  And as mentioned before, to figure the real “value” of Republic, the city needs to figure the cost of the extra $25 out of every $100 paid to Republic that does not stay in the local community.

Now many will say:  “But there is no local company who can offer such services.”  No, but there are likely several local haulers who could step up and form a cooperative to manage the job.  Perhaps this is a good opportunity for the Small Business Administration and local Chamber of Commerce to step up to the plate and assist folks in creating local business solutions in their community.


Plano is not the only USA community who choose multinational corporations over local businesses.  In fact, most of them do.

This all reminds me of a similar situation a few years ago, under a different Mayor here in Garland when our government leaders chose Pepsico, a multinational junk food manufacturer to deliver summer lunches to children in our community.  I protested at the time saying that several local caterers could have handled the job.

We all need to turn our minds to local because locally chosen business serve our local economy much better than multinational corporations.  How long will it be before we learn this lesson?

It will be interesting to see if the leaders of Plano have learned from this incident.  If they simply allow Republic to repair its existing facility and go forward as before, I would have to say they’ve learned nothing.

Again the real value of choosing a multinational corporation over several local vendors for the job should always include the 25% loss of any dollar amount paid to a multinational corporation over a local business.  Twenty-five percent is fairly significant and should always be figured into the cost of doing business outside the local community.

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