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By Kim Murphy
Murphy and Murphy Southern California Realty 

Real estate round-up: what does 'shop local' really mean?


Last updated 3/19/2018 at 11:20am

Lucette Moramarco photo

A variety of shops and services are available in downtown Fallbrook.

I regularly overhear comments and discussions about how high the prices of homes are here in Fallbrook. As a Realtor who works primarily in Fallbrook and Bonsall, these comments always surprise me a little. Out of the 34 ZIP codes in north San Diego County, our median priced home falls nearly right in the middle of the pack. The median for all of north San Diego County, for the month of February, was $620,000 and Fallbrook's was $615,000. There were 15 ZIP codes that came in below Fallbrook's median and 18 ZIP codes that came in above that number.

So how do you turn a ZIP code into a community that commands the higher prices? While certain obvious factors like great schools are always at the top of the list, other things that people always say they want in a community is a thriving downtown area. Whether it is a sprawling metropolis or a small, quaint main street type of town, people want an inviting place bustling with restaurants, boutiques, coffee houses, gift shops, pet stores, salons, yoga studios and more to wander through on a pleasant afternoon.

Fallbrook, on the quaint end of the spectrum, does a fairly good job of filling that list. But alas, being a business owner that operates a business in the downtown area, the overall comments I hear from the merchants are that they would like more support from the community of people who live here.

So the question is why should people shop locally?

First, small-business owners tend to be hyper-cognizant of how their decisions may impact their neighbors. Feeling the closeness and camaraderie in their communities, small business entrepreneurs tend to invest – literally – in their communities. Murphy & Murphy Southern California Realty donated $35,000 to local nonprofits last year. 100 Main donates 10 percent of their sales every month to a local nonprofit. Local business owners in small towns in particular tend to feel the love and spread the love.

Also, small businesses make a major economic impact on their communities. Approximately 65 percent of the income received by a local small business gets directly put back into the community because the owners live in the community. Their tax dollars stay within the local economy. They themselves tend to shop locally, pumping more of their profits back into the community than their chain store counterparts, helping with economic development.

Next, small businesses tend to provide better customer service. They tend to be more likely to build personal relationships with their customers, knowing many of them by name. When was the last time someone walked into a Cheesecake Factory and was greeted personally by name?

Small businesses generally have more product diversity, and if they don't have the products on hand, ask them - they're usually much more receptive and willing to order them.

Small businesses are job creators, and most of those jobs are local jobs. Supporting local businesses also helps fellow community members who work for them. When a community has a vibrant commercial center, it also creates ample opportunities for these workers to shop at other local small businesses. They grab lunch or dinner from local restaurants, run errands on their breaks and grab drinks from local bars. This interplay keeps money local and further creates a tight-knit community vibe.

So how can the Fallbrook community really shop local? Need milk, eggs, bread or beer? Go to Major Market. Need a gift? Try Twisted Barn, A Moment in Time or the Fallbrook Art Center. Need a special surprise for a girlfriend or boyfriend? Check out 100 Main, Mimi's Boutique, Caravan, Fig Leaf Boutique or The Jewelry Connection. Need some culture? Visit Brandon Gallery or the Fallbrook Art Center. Looking for exercise and connections? Sage Yoga Studio is right here on Main Street. Hungry? Cafe Des Artistes is always fresh and fun. 127 West Social just opened up this week. There's Brooktown Coffee, the Tea Lane, Harry's Bar and Fallbrook Brewing Company.

The bottom line is small businesses are good for Fallbrook. But the community needs to go there. Remember, it would be a lot easier to be a franchise owner in a big city or a boutique owner in a trendy town with lots of tourists, but the smaller merchants choose to do business here in Fallbrook, in the town they live in, just like everyone. So give them some love. Let the big city friends support PF Chang and Home Depot, and instead chat with friends over lunch at El Jardin.

And while shopping locally, it really helps build a thriving community that will enhance and elevate the value of life and local homes.

Kim Murphy can be reached at or (760) 415-9292 or at 130 N Main Avenue, in Fallbrook. Her broker license is #01229921, and she is on the board of directors for the California Association of Realtors.


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