I've always been a part of the local movement. After college I began working in the telecommunications field doing contract work for several of the big telephone companies. It allowed me to travel the United States and go to places I never would have visited otherwise. It also allowed me to see every form of local business imaginable... from local restaurants to small shops that sold stones (literally).
One thing I've noticed is 99% of the time, they tend to have a passion for what they do. Let me give you an example...
Jane Doe loves clothing. Clothing Store A is a massive world wide business... and they open a store in her town and slap it full of cheap clothing, then sell as much as possible at the best margin possible so the corporation can make the most profit possible. They will also most likely have several employees that work there that have no idea what they're even selling. They're there to stock the shelves and run the register. Jane Doe decides she can do so much better... so she opens her own store. Because she has that passion, her store will most likely have better quality items on top of the fact that she'll have a twinkle in her eye when helping you find items in her store, and she'll probably be able to tell you where every piece of clothing came from, how it was made, and how to care for it. Then she'll ring you up, thank you for shopping local, and send you on your way. Do you see where I'm going with this?
Kennedy's Biscuits is another prime example. Walk in to any big box pet store, pick up a bag of food and a bag of treats, walk up to an employee and ask them where they're made. You'll most likely get a blank stare. Ask us... we'll tell you that our food is AlphaDog branded pet food made by Ohio Pet Foods... and the treats are obviously made in the back of our store. Deb Bingham makes our pet sweaters. We have a passion for what we do.
Corporations have picked up on this. One thing you'll see is companies throwing that "Local" word in to their advertising. In my home town, there's a fast food chain that is locally owned... but that doesn't make them a "local" company. It makes them locally owned... a franchise. They're actually a large corporation. It's in every facet of business.
Know where you're shopping, know where they're based. Kennedy's Biscuits is based in Frankfort, KY... with a store in Frankfort, KY... and we live here, too. Support your local businesses... we have a passion for what we do or we wouldn't do it. That can translate to better service, better products, and a happier you.