Okay. So clearly I'm a little biased about this one, but, the "buy local" and "buy American" mantras were part of my upbringing. I grew up in a small town in Ohio. We had one department store and the rest of the stores were either small, independent businesses or local chains. I attended public school and received a good education. By the time I left for college in the early 1990's, most of the local stores had closed and had been replaced by national chains. The local economy has all but tank and the school system is desperate for funding.
The reason: Large retailers don't recirculate their profits into local communities. “Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns 3x more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain; and almost 50x more than buying from an online mega-retailer," according to several white papers that have studied the impact of big retail on local economies.
Most local businesses are run by your neighbors, fellow member of the PTA and key figures in your community. So ditch the big labels and support your communities.