Give back to the local community by shopping local this holiday season

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bussineelowcThe Christmas countdown is on and small business need our help.

Christmas is the time of giving. We all could give back to our community by shopping locally instead of ordering something from a catalog or website.

Indeed, shopping more locally has a big affect on the area’s economy, and it makes you feel good on top of that. Let’s consider a few of the top reasons to shop locally:

Local character and prosperity: In an increasingly homogenized world, communities that preserve their one-ofa- kind businesses and distinctive characters have an economic advantage.

Community well-being: Locally owned businesses build strong communities by sustaining vibrant town centers, linking neighbors in a web of economic and social relationships and contributing to local causes.

Local decision-making: Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.

Keeping dollars in the local economy: Compared to chain stores, locally owned businesses recycle a much larger share of their revenues back into the local economy, enriching the whole community.

Job and wages: Locally owned businesses create more jobs in the community and, in some sectors, provide better wages and benefits than chains.

Entrepreneurship: Business owners’ drive fuels America’s economic innovation and prosperity and serves as a key means for families to move out of lowwage jobs and into the middle class.

Public benefits and costs: Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services relative to big-box stores and strip shopping malls.

Environmental sustainability: Local stores help to sustain vibrant, compact, walkable town centers, which in turn are essential to reducing sprawl, automobile use, habitat loss and air and water pollution.

Competition: A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long term.

Product diversity: A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based not on a national sales plan but on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.

The human factor: Nothing can replace talking to a shop owner, a knowledgeable member of the sales team or an artisan. Learning from their experience, their passion for the product or service, where it came from, how it was made and what makes it special.

The person receiving the gift will feel that you put some thought into finding and choosing the item and it will have more meaning for them.

For more on the benefits of shopping locally, go to www.ilsr.org.