By Tara Bitzan, Executive Director, Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce
Usually it's when the holiday season descends upon us that we hear the plea to "shop local." Many communities market their shop local campaigns very heavily at that time of year. But shopping local isn't just for the holidays - it should be top-of-mind focus year-round. And the shop local concept isn't just for retail; it is just as important for service businesses.
Blogger Cinda Baxter founded the 3/50 Project, which strives to "save the brick and mortars our nation is built on." Baxter challenges people to commit to 3/50 by choosing three local independently owned businesses that they would miss if they disappeared, and spend $50 per month at any of these businesses.
It makes you see things differently when you think about your favorite three businesses right here in our community, and imagine them closing. Of course you alone can't keep them afloat, but you do have an impact.
According to U.S. Labor Department statistics, if half of all employed people spent $50 each month at locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue.
Baxter's focus is of course independently owned, because in most cases the business employs local residents and spends money here. For every $100 spent in locally-owned, independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain store in the community, $43 stays here. Spend it online and nothing comes here.
And again, this concept isn't just for retail. It is for service businesses as well. Money spent with local restaurants, theaters, contractors, dry cleaners, salons, etc. has the same impact.
Here's why doing business locally matters:
Do your part to keep the community thriving and "do business" locally year-round.