Allow us to make what we hope is a compelling argument for adding local merchants to your list of sources for holiday gifts and services this season.
The brick-and-mortar small-business owners in our community represent the backbone of our local economy. Small-business owners are often our friends and neighbors and the people with whom we worship. These “mom and pops” belong to our local service groups, coach our kids’ athletic teams and serve on community committees. They have invested both their personal and professional lives here.
Due to the struggling economy, the Internet and the presence of large chain retail stores, the futures of many small business here are in peril. Without revenues from a solid holiday shopping season, there may be no next year for some of them. Their futures depend on you.
In this “what’s-in-it-for-me?” era, here are some reasons for spending your money with local businesses.
• You will conserve energy. Why drive miles to a major mall or metropolitan shopping district when you can likely find what you need only a mile or two away? In addition, the environmental impacts of packaging and delivery are non-issues if you buy locally instead of ordering something on the Internet.
• You will keep your money and your tax dollars in town. Studies have shown that for every $100 spent locally, $68 stays local. For every $100 spent at a national chain store only $43 stays local (way less if you shop online). Sales tax dollars stay local as well, helping pay for basic services.
• Local businesses generate local jobs. Income to those businesses is returned in the form of salaries, which are spent locally as well. And don’t forget all those youth team sponsorships, raffle items, high school scholarships and other investments in our community that are made by local merchants. They don’t have to do any of that, but they do because they care.
We’re not naive enough to suggest you do all of your shopping locally this holiday season. Those “Black Friday” ads certainly are appealing, along with the one-click convenience of buying on the Internet. But we would like to offer a compromise.
Choose three local businesses you would miss if they closed. Stop in, browse and perhaps buy a holiday gift or two.
By shopping locally, you can save time, gas and money, and help our neighbor businesses at a time they need us the most.
Steve Dryer, editor
Pomerado News Group