Thursday, December 13, 2007
Shopping locally promotes community development
Want to avoid the long lines this season? Shop locally!
Just looking at our charming town square, it is evident that the disappearance of local businesses leaves a social and economic void that is easily seen and felt in communities both large and small. Most people embrace the idea of distinctive businesses with local character, but often have no idea of the true economic impact of these businesses to their communities and forget that the survival of these businesses depends on their patronage.
When shopping locally, you simultaneously: create jobs, fund more city services through sales tax, invest in neighborhood improvement and promote community development. In fact, if each household in Marshall County simply redirected just $100 of planned holiday spending from chain stores to locally owned merchants, the local economic impact would reach almost $2 million!
A recent study discovered that for every $100 spent at chain stores, only $13 is returned to the community, while the same amount spent with a local merchant returns $45! With much of their life savings invested in their businesses, local owners have a natural interest in the long-term health of the community, so dollars spent with these merchants are recycled back into the community.
Buying locally creates an impact in the local economy up to five times that of a chain store, due to the fact that profits of chain businesses are promptly exported to corporate headquarters, often in another state.
Large chains often have a negative effect on local jobs. Entrepreneurship fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity, and serves as a key means for families to move out of low-wage jobs and into the middle class. Many large chains supply lower wages, fewer benefits and often drive employees into a need for financial government assistance. Also, although they boast of creating hundreds of jobs, chain outlets often displace more jobs than they created.
Each time we spend a dollar, we should consider the full value of our choices and remember that each dollar is a vote for the future direction of our community. The votes we cast with our dollars every day influence our community at least as much as those cast on election days.
Although chain stores serve their communities by delivering a consistent level of goods and services, each year seems to bring more national chains displacing locally owned businesses. We can reverse the trend by casting our figurative ballot and voting for the continued strength and vitality of our community by shopping locally!
Tourism Traffic report: November 2007
* Unfortunately with the turning weather and the holidays, we are entering our slow season. We received just under 100 guests here at the tourism bureau but we are welcoming the slower pace to begin preparations for the spring Pilgrimage, April 18-20. Ladies – get those hoop skirts ready and spread the word… the 2008 Pilgrimage will be better than ever!
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