I recently attended the North Platte, NE, Shop Local Kickoff event, featuring state and local proclamations highlighting the importance of shopping local brick and mortar retail stores. The event made me think about my holiday shopping.
This year, I’m challenging myself to make local purchases and encourage everyone else to do the same. I say challenge because I get it – it’s often faster and less expensive to go online. But that route wastes our power to use our purchases to make a difference in our communities.
Moreover, shopping online is not always the best deal. Often, the price that drives you to click “add to cart” isn’t so great after you checkout and pay shipping. After waiting for the item to arrive, you may not even like what you bought. When you shop at a local retailer, you know what you’re buying, and who you’re buying from. The local small business owner you support is creating jobs, paying local taxes, and will often be one of the first to throw down sponsorship bucks for community events like a 5K fun run or a local celebration.
This shopping season, I’ll be getting on my feet and into small businesses when I’m searching for gifts for my friends and family. I know I’ll find something unique. By supporting a local business, I’m making a big impact in my own communities – that’s what I call value. I hope you’ll join me. When small businesses thrive because of your support, everyone wins!
By Nancy Flock, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rural Enterprise Assistance Project, Center for Rural Affairs