By Todd A. Jensen —
Another holiday shopping season is here! Wait, another holiday shopping season is here? You know what this means, right? It means we’ll all be exposed to a crazy overabundance of pumpkin-spiced food and drink! It’s also means we’ll have an opportunity to bolster our communities by keeping our shopping local.
We’ll admit that shopping on sites such as Amazon can be tempting, but it’s important to take a step back and look at the amazing shopping, dining and entertainment options you have right here in your community—options that can make you feel great about directly supporting the community, its businesses, its people and its identity.
Shopping Local …
1. Keeps Money Here. Shopping local is more likely to keep money circulating within your community. Local businesses often do business with other local businesses for the services they need, which keeps money circulating within your local economy.
2. Supports Local Employment. Local businesses employ local community members. Not only do the wages paid to community members get recirculated back into local businesses, the taxes from these wages support essential services provided by our communities. Also keep in mind that some franchises might not seem local, but may be locally owned and operated and employ members of our community!
3. Promotes a Local Identity. Local business owners often sell local products. This helps preserve a community’s identity and helps create jobs. For example, here in our corner of the world, we’re blessed with some of the best locally produced cheese, wine and meat found anywhere in the world.
4. Gives You Access to Expertise. Local business owners do what they do because they are passionate about their products. They take the time to get to know their customers and their customers’ needs. That means when you buy local, you are also getting product knowledge, know-how and service.
5. Supports Nonprofits. Local businesses are often key supporters of local nonprofits. Much of the great work local nonprofits (such as The Hunger Task Force and Habitat for Humanity) perform could not be done without the support of local businesses.
6. Helps You Discover Interesting Things and People. Unique shops and restaurants are part of what makes our communities such great places to live. Whether it’s institutions like Fayze’s Restaurant & Bakery in La Crosse or the downtown shopping district in Tomah, we all have great opportunities to keep it local.
7. Supports a Diverse Product Range. Local stores carry products you might not find at national chain stores. Local business owners choose products based on what their customers—you!—want and often go out of their way to stock products from local artists, farmers and producers.
8. Creates Community. We always have a connection with the communities where we live, and shopping local helps build and deepen that connection. The more you shop local the more you’ll know about your community. Without the support of local businesses, Rotary Lights could not offer the incredible holiday display that is our gift—free of charge—each holiday season.