Friday, November 29, 2013

Shopping locally critical to communities


he National Retail Foundation predicts the average American shopper will spend $737.95 this Christmas, which translates to total forecasted holiday sales of $602.1 billion nationwide during the 2013 holiday shopping season. Keeping those staggering totals in mind, we encourage area residents to consider spending those dollars locally rather than shopping online or traveling to the malls and big-box stores.
    Many communities across the country, including Steamboat Springs, have launched “shop local” campaigns to compete with the Black Friday kickoff to holiday shopping.
    These efforts are aimed at reminding shoppers of the positive economic, community and environmental impacts they can have if they choose to fill their holiday wish lists with purchases from neighborhood businesses.
    Why shop local?
    The reasons are compelling.
    Instead of sending your shopping dollars out of town, keep your hard-earned bucks right here in your own county. Dollars spent locally support businesses that are owned and operated by people who live here and have made an investment in the community. These businesses support local schools, organizations and charities through generous giving and volunteer support.
    When people buy locally, they trigger what has been termed the “local economic multiplier effect.” Multiple studies, conducted by groups across the U.S., have verified this effect, and according to organizations like the American Independent Business Alliance, study results show local independent businesses spend business revenue within the region where they are located. In other words, local businesses tend to purchase goods and services from other locally owned businesses, which keeps money circulating closer to home.
    More specifically, it is estimated that for every $1 spent at a locally-owned business, 45 cents is reinvested locally, which produces big dividends for the local economy not to mention increases in local sales tax revenue, which supports vital community services and infrastructure. By contrast, only 15 cents of every $1 spent at a corporate chain store is reinvested in the local economy.
    Shopping locally also ensures that the retail segment of the local economy remains strong and downtown shopping districts stay vibrant.

    The Steamboat Pilot & Today, of Colorado, published this editorial on Nov. 20.

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