We have all heard the radio commericals and the television ads about buying local. The ads all say that if you buy local, the money stays right here, but if you don't buy local, the money is gone. They also will give percentages and all kinds of other empirical data to back up these claims.
However, whenever I hear statistics such as these, I always have to ask myself how well researched they are. One of my favorite sayings is "over 64% of statiscal data are completely made up." However, as I was working on the W-2's and the 1099's as I was closing out the tax year, I started to see that a lot of the money we spend as a company goes to local suppliers. So, maybe there is something to this.
Our rental properties are all in the Wausau metro area (which includes Mosinee). We are locally owned and have been around for over 40 years as a company. We make a concerted effort to try to find local suppliers, to take the money we have earned and re-invest it right here in central Wisconsin. Since I had a little bit of time on my hands, I decided to see how well we did in 2012 in keeping money local.
First, let's talk property taxes. You can't get more local than money that goes right to our local governments where we own properties. In 2012, we paid nearly $365,000 in property taxes.
Next, comes our employees. We have a number of office staff and field staff to run this operation. And our total 2012 payroll expenses were almost $223,000. Again, money paid to employees who live here locally.
What took the longest to work out was money we spent on goods and services from locally owned companies. By locally owned, we do mean central Wisconsin. That includes the Wausau area, Marshfield, Mosinee, Wisconsin Rapids, Antigo, etc. If you can get there in an hour or less, I would consider that local. These are local businesses such as Showcase Carpets in Weston, Central Wisconsin Heating out of Mosinee, Kulps Roofing out of Stratford, Grebes in Wausau, Central Burner and Boiler in Marshfield, and Pro-Steam Carpet Cleaning out of Schofield, just to name a few.
When I totalled up what we paid all of these locally owned businesses, it came out to just under a half million dollars, $499,146 to be exact.
The total impact to the local economy from our focus on spending our money locally comes out to just over a million dollars. Because our tenants chose to rent from a landlord that is locally owned, over a million dollars was reinvested back into central Wisconsin.
Then I decided to do some math. Based on the total amount of rental revenue we recieved, 55 cents of every dollar stayed here locally. That seemed like a very low number considering how hard we try to keep it local.
But, then I realized what that 55 cents does NOT include.
Some of our largest monthly bills are to companies such as Menards and Pro-Build. Although these are what many would consider "big box" stores, they are actual stores located right here in Wausau. Those businesses employ local people and pay local property taxes. Even though Menards is not locally owned, it is Wisconsin owned. The same holds true for money spent at Hallman Lindsey Paints or Kwik Trip. Again, this money goes to Wisconsin owned companies employing local people and paying local taxes. Then I realized that I didn't even include the various water bills paid to various municipal utilities. I also didn't include our mortgage payments to locally owned banks such as Abby Bank, that is over $225,000 alone.
This also does not include donations we make to local non-profit groups.
So... over half of every dollar we take in goes directly back here locally, but once you figure in all of those other factors, it is probably not hard to imagine 80 cents, 85, maybe even 95 cents of every dollar staying in central Wisconsin.
When I started here at Emmerich & Associates over 20 years ago, almost every rental property was locally owned. But that is quickly changing. Many of the larger complexes are owned by big corporations out of Madison, Milwaukee, and some of the more high profile downtown developments are owned by companies out of state. When they did there remodelling, did they try to find central Wisconsin companies to do the work? I don't know. But what I do know is that we do.
When you are looking for an apartment, ask about where the company that owns them is located. If you care about the money you spend on rent going back into the community which you live, then look for a landlord that calls central Wisconsin home.