My colleague, Gail Rosenblum, writes today about the loss she feels - accompanied by twinges of guilt - when a locally owned, independent merchant closes. I've written about the movement to get consumers to spend more of their dollars with such merchants. While I've questioned the economic rationale behind the Buy Local movement, I agree that a vibrant, independently-owned business sector is good for both consumers and communities.

And those Buy Local campaigns appear to help in that regard, at least according to this survey of 2,768 independently owned businesses by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Conducted over an eight-day period in January, the survey of retailers, service providers, restaurants and others found that 2010 sales rose an average of 5.6 percent in communities with a "buy local" initiative, compared to 2.1 percent for those elsewhere. The survey and links can be found here.

Just curious: Have you shifted more of your spending to locally-owned businesses?