Editorial: Support your community, shop local

 Imagine if you will, long lines of people waiting to check out in one of the three open lanes with items they found for 20% off at the big box store. Picture the faces of the big box store employees trying to force a smile as they are belittled by every Karen and Kyle while earning just above minimum wage for companies that could arguably be called the biggest pyramid schemes legally allowed. 

As Americans go out of our way to get back to normal by supporting the economy with every purchase only to make the fat cats fatter, take into consideration the needs of our local small business owners by shopping in their stores instead. 

When you buy local, you are supporting more than just local business owners. You are supporting your neighbors and their families. You are supporting local farms, local nonprofits and many other vital pieces of the local community. By supporting local, you are also supporting many opportunities for locals to overcome challenges we all face — together. 

Local businesses reported generating $68 of local economic return for every $100 spent in their stores as opposed to big box businesses that only put an average $43 for every $100, according to the Huffington Post. This includes payroll, local taxes and donations to local organizations. 

According to the report, over $9.3 billion would be returned to our economy if every family in the U.S. spent just $10 a month in local businesses. While that may sound like a sad infomercial narrated by Sarah McLaughlin, the reality is that our local business owners continue to struggle as we face this ongoing pandemic. The word “we” is key here because we are the community that needs to lean on each other now more than ever. 

On average, 25% of local businesses nationwide close due to low sales or limited cash flow, according to the Huffington Post. Add a global pandemic and imagine the devastation of having to shut down due to government mandates and then trying to reopen. Now, as we enter the holiday season, our local businesses need us more than ever before. 

Small businesses donate 250% more than their big box counterparts to local community causes. One example is the sponsoring of local youth organizations and organized sports. One look at a local outfield fence or baseball jersey will show just how involved local businesses are in the community. You are more likely to see a sponsorship from Bob Cratchit’s Bookstore than you would Ebenezer’s Everything Emporium, which has over 10,000 locations nationwide. 

When you shop local, you are more likely to have a pleasant overall experience. This may be due to the fact that 56% of workers at locally owned businesses have high commitment scores, meaning they like what they do, they like where they work and they take pride in their job as opposed to the possibly disgruntled big box employee who absolutely dreads going into work to face hundreds upon hundreds of customers who want to know how to inflate an airfryer. 

As we venture out into traffic to make those purchases this holiday season, consider making at least one or more purchases at a local small business and support your community. While you’re at it, enjoy lunch at a local eatery as well. 

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