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Caldwell: Shopping locally makes huge impact

By now many people are channeling their inner Santa Claus, making their list and checking it twice.

Some who are really in the spirit can tell you exactly how many shopping days remain until Christmas. Others, like myself, have lots of people to buy for as the calendar flies by.

Hopefully everyone will try to match up their growing shopping list with local stores that can meet those Christmas desires.

Shopping local is critical to our community as small businesses are the lifeblood that truly keep us strong. Want to see more businesses here? Shop local. Success sparks competition. That makes our communities better places to live work and play.

I shared this list last year, but the importance hasn’t faded in the past 365 days. According to the Independent We Stand initiative, here’s what happens when you “shop local.”

1. More of your money will be kept in your local economy 

For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend that same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community.

2. You embrace what makes your community unique

You wouldn’t want your house to look like everyone else’s in the U.S. So why would you want your community to look that way?

3. You create local jobs

Local businesses are better at creating higher-paying jobs for your neighbors. When you shop locally, you help create jobs for teachers, firefighters, police officers, and many other essential professions.

4. You help the environment

Buying from a locally owned business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and less packaging.

5. You nurture community

Local business owners know you, and you know them. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.

6. You conserve your tax dollars

Shopping in a local business district means less infrastructure, less maintenance, and more money available to beautify your community. Also, spending locally instead of online ensures that your sales taxes are reinvested where they belong — in your community!

7. You create more choice

Locally owned businesses pick the items and products they sell based on what they know you like and want. Local businesses carry a wider array of unique products because they buy for their own individual markets.

8. You take advantage of their expertise

You are their friends and neighbors, and locally owned businesses have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. They’re passionate about what they do. Why not take advantage of it?

9. You invest in entrepreneurship

Creativity and entrepreneurship are what the American economy is founded upon. Nurturing local business ensures a strong community.

10. You make your community a destination 

The more interesting and unique your community, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone.

How great is it to be able to check people off your list while also checking these 10 ways to give back to your community?

That is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. He can be reached at 759-0095 or by email at mike.caldwell@winchestersun.com.