At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we strongly encourage you to shop locally this holiday season. If not for any other reason than by doing so you are making an important investment in your community.
And with retailers all over the county participating in nationally promoted Small Business Saturday, today is a great day to go out and make your holiday shopping dollars felt in the local economy.
Granted, shopping with the click of a mouse is convenient, but at what cost?
Let’s break this down into “cents” and “sense.”
First, the cents: Prices offered by a local business are often competitive with any online source, and the level of customer service you receive from a local merchant is unmatched by any online retailer.
Many small-business owners know you have choices and work hard to provide you with unique merchandise and competitive prices. Additionally, your purchase ensures you’re contributing to the local economy. Statistically, 45 cents of every dollar you spend with a local business is reinvested in your community.
The click of a mouse, on the other hand, does not make any significant or direct contribution to your community.
Now the sense: Shopping locally is personal. Locally owned businesses serve as the backbone of our communities — providing jobs, purchasing supplies locally from other businesses and contributing to local charities and civic organizations.
Unlike shopping outside your community, these business owners, their employees and every business linked to them are your neighbors. They shop at the local grocer, pay local taxes and make charitable contributions.
Back to math and something called the “multiplier factor.” The ripple effect of a local purchase is incredibly powerful.
Imagine if 100,000 people in Galveston County diverted $250 of their shopping from an online business to a locally owned and operated business.
Mathematically, the difference in taxable retail sales would increase $25 million — sending collected sales taxes right back into the local economy.
Add to that the fact that local businesses can then continue to invest in growing their business (supporting the workforce, purchasing local supplies and such) and you can quickly see why shopping locally makes all the sense (and cents) in the world.
• Leonard Woolsey