I'm not sure whether it is a national effort, but around here folks are encouraging each other to shop locally (as in with locally owned folks instead of National Chains). I agree. Locally owned places keep more of the money we spend in our own communities.
Better still is purchasing locally manufactured/grown stuff. It saves on all sorts of resources (reduced fuel consumption because you're not shipping across the country, for example).
One of the ways that I have long tried to shop local is by shopping at my local yarn stores. After all, if we don't support local yarn stores, we won't have local resources for learning new things, getting help, or fetching yarn on short notice. This past week, I tried to do just that.
1) a skein of fingering weight cotton (or cotton blend) yarn in a solid dark color for a gift (what I really wanted was a skein of Schoeller Esslinger Cottolana, but alas that yarn is discontinued), and
2) two skeins of a dark blue fingering or sport weight yarn with which to make a pair of gloves. I'd have liked to find something like Araucania Itata or Cascade Heritage Handpaints in a tonal deep blue to make the gloves for Kitty with.
Two skeins of Cascade 220 with which to make a pair of slippers for another gift.
I planned ... to scout for some other smaller projects that I intend to make for Holiday Gifts.
Alas, the former wall of Cascade 220 in my LYS (local yarn store) had been reduced to a few cubes, in which the only solid colors for which there were more than one hank were Orange and very bright blue (delightful to folks who follow certain college football teams, but not among the slipper wearer's preferred color combinations). There were several skeins in one of the less attractive painted colors, but ... I couldn't get two skeins with which to make the slippers.
The fingering weight collection was similarly unsatisfactory. There was no cotton or wool/cotton blend (I admit, I hadn't expected it), and there was no dark blue based yarn in any of the yarns I really wanted to use for the gloves.
Now, this trip was not just intended to get what I needed right away - it was a scouting trip to plan the holiday gifts. In the end, I did find, and take home, 2 skeins of yarn that will do for the gloves, but they're not what I really wanted.
I really did want to shop locally. But this is far from the first time that I've gone to my local shop only to find that they do not have what I want or need. Even though they've recently expanded, they seem to have less and less of what I'm looking for. That's disappointing.
Furthermore, even though we do have some local spinners and dyers of yarn... if they're carrying local yarns, I couldn't find them. Again, disappointing.
To be sure, if I had lots of time, I could place a special order with the local shop, and wait until they got around to placing their next order with the suppliers I needed yarn from.... but it's far faster to order from the larger yarn shops (in Massachusetts or Kansas for example). Additionally, I can get whatever brands I want, and am not limited to the brands THIS store carries.
I yielded -- and placed my order online. True, I don't have the yarn I want today, but I will have it soon (and I can whip out those gloves in the mean time).