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Shop local to make a difference

America’s premier spending week revs up with Thanksgiving and Black Friday. It concludes with Cyber Monday deals and Giving Tuesday donations.

Often lost in the middle: Small Business Saturday.

While it may not be the headliner, there are many important reasons to shop at local businesses. As the economy has turned into an increasingly global, online marketplace, it’s common to wonder if buying from local businesses really helps.

It does — and in more ways than most people realize.

It starts with the person behind the counter.

More often than not, that person is the owner of a local business. He is setting out the scones he started at 3 a.m. at the local bakery. She is arranging a display at that chic downtown store. These are neighbors from down the street inspired by their own imagination to press their fingerprint against the community and provide a local business option. They employ local workers, serve on local boards, and join the rotation providing post-game treats for their child’s soccer team.

Local businesses keep more money in the community.

According to the 2018 Small Business Economic Impact Study, two-thirds of every dollar ($0.67) spent at small businesses stays in the community. This compares to $0.43 when money is spent at a non-local business, according to the Local Works study by Civic Economics. And because so much of this local impact is wages, it’s worth pausing to consider local alternatives when shopping online.

Local businesses support local products and services.

Local businesses are far more likely to support other local businesses. They provide shelf space to the local artisan or coffee roaster. When a need arises, they call the local printer or repair shop. Small community businesses support one another.

Local businesses support local nonprofits.

A 2019 study by the SCORE Association found that small businesses donate 250 percent more than larger businesses to local nonprofits and community causes, whether that’s keeping the local domestic violence shelter staffed and secure or sponsoring a Little League team. The money you spend with local businesses is far more likely to make its way to supporting the vital work of compassion healthy communities are built upon.

You are part of this cycle.

If local businesses play a key role in supporting a strong community …

And if a strong community provides a safe and desirable haven for its residents …

Then community members have a role in completing that cycle. Shop local.  

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