We are a network of locally minded independent businesses, citizens, and organizations working to promote vibrant communities and neighborhoods in central Ohio.
We envision a thriving local economy that functions in harmony with local ecosystems to meet the basic needs of all people, support just and democratic processes, and foster joyful community life.
SOLE is a coalition formed to acheive three primary goals:
SOLE accomplishes these goals by forming partnerships with existing business and community organizations that address the “building blocks” of a sustainable local economy in central Ohio. These building blocks include: Independent Retail, Food and Farming, Community Capital, Green Building and Smart Growth, Energy Efficiency and Renewables, and Green Business Development. These and other building blocks (e.g., Transportation, Health and Wellness, Independent Media, Arts and Culture)
will be addressed as the coalition of SOLE members and partners grow. We connect the dots between all the building blocks or components in our local economy. SOLE offers a holistic vision we can all work to achieve.
SOLE and its partners are not anti-nonlocal, national chains, franchises, or brands. Economic logic suggests that the strongest community is one in which local businesses maximize sales to local markets AND maximize sales to global markets. A focus on local business is smart, but not because nonlocal companies are immoral, bad, or unproductive. By encouraging citizens to buy “Local First” we are not saying “Local Only,” nor “Local, Whatever the Cost.” Strong local markets prepare some companies for going global, without giving away the diversified businesses necessary for local economic success.
We are not isolationists. We want to improve the prosperity of every community, around the world, by maximizing opportunities for locally-owned businesses. In the words of Michael Shuman, “the more we nurture and support local, independent businesses, the more likely we will bring prosperity to all citizens – rich and poor, black and white, male and female, rural and urban, young and old. With greater prosperity for so many diverse groups, we also have a better shot at solving hundreds of other knotty problems bedeviling our society. If we are smart enough to globally share everything we learn about how locally owned businesses can succeed, and modest enough to learn about successful local business designs and strategies elsewhere, we can make major strides toward relieving global poverty and saving global ecosystems.”
We are not a partisan or political movement. What local living economies stand for is much more important than what they may be against. Localization can and should appeal to right and left alike, by combining conservatives’ passion for free markets, small business, and small government with progressives’ passion for community empowerment, sustainability, and real democracy.