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Is the "Buy Local" food movement losing strength?

The Shop Local, Buy Local food movement appears to be losing steam, as smaller stores close-up shop.

Would you pay ten cents more for an apple grown locally? Maybe not, and that's what "locavores" are trying to change. Locavores, are people who shop locally, and they say you need to change your mindset.

When Marilyn Evans opens up shop, she has fresh fruits and veggies on the brain. Evans runs Greene Street Market, where you can find all sorts of fresh goodies, art, even an Alabama-shaped cutting board. But, when it comes to prices, sometimes buying local, means spending more green.

When shopping local, store owners say it's not about money.  Especially when big box chains like Publix, Kroger, and Wal-mart are offering similar items. "We can't beat their time, but we can beat their relationship. They may meet the vendors at the market. They meet the people they buy from," said Evans.

Competition is everything in business, but local vendors have an edge in what they call the "multiplier effect." "When our vendors come here, they spend time in Huntsville. They buy in Huntsville; they may spend the night in Huntsville and the Huntsville community benefits," said Evans.

While she remains positive about people continuing to shop local, when you look at the numbers, it shows consumers are doing something else.

"Cumulatively, all of us are buying $2.6-billion worth of food a year, of that we're purchasing $2.4-billion of food is outside of our region," said Kathryn Strickland, Executive Director of the Food Bank of North Alabama.

Studies have shown people put more emphasis on personal attention and customer satisfaction than price. That is good news for those Mom-and-Pop stores.

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