Shopping local: The gift we give our community

Published 9:46 am Wednesday, December 2, 2015

(Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared in the Nov. 21, 2015 print edition of the Demopolis Times.)

The holiday season is upon us and soon ‘bells will be ringing’ and so will cash registers as we open our wallets to celebrate the experience of giving. As we start making our lists and checking it twice, we should all give back to ourselves by considering what items we can purchase right here at home.
By shopping locally this holiday season we are not only supporting those businesses, but also supporting our neighbors who are employed there as well as providing tax dollars that can be used for the public good, such as infrastructure improvements, parks, schools, and so much more.
According to a Civic Economics Study held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, it was determined that when consumers spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in the local economy.
Also supporting local businesses helps those same businesses in their efforts to give back to the community. In 2014, small businesses donated 250 percent more than larger businesses to non-profits and community causes, according to a study by the Seattle Good Business Network.
When we shop locally we create a cycle that benefits businesses, employees, governments, non-profits, and residents.
We are fortunate in Demopolis to have the retail stores that offer so many products — both mainstream and unique. There’s not much reason to travel the 60 miles to larger areas and you save yourself cash at the gas station.
While many shoppers will battle it out for the big-box deals on Black Friday, let’s not forget about Small Business Saturday and check out the great deals available from those businesses that are run by the people we know personally. In 2013, consumers who participated in Small Business Saturday spent $5.7 billion, an increase of 3.6 percent from 2012. That increase has a domino effect felt throughout the community.
As you prepare to hit the stores this shopping season, consider if it is truly worth losing money to travel out of town.

Robert Blankenship is the Publisher and Editor of the Demopolis Times. He can be reached at robert.blankenship@demopolistimes.com.

Robert Blankenship is the Publisher and Editor of the Demopolis Times. He can be reached at robert.blankenship@demopolistimes.com.