CHAMBER VOICE: I’ll shop at home this Christmas

Why shopping at home helps support local businesses.

This shopping season it is more important than ever to reconsider your shopping habits.

With so many shopping options available, from online to cross border to big city outings, local shopping is often overlooked.

The impact of shopping locally is easily forgotten during the holiday shopping season, with consumers anxious to find an excuse to leave the community and enjoy some big city amenities.

There is a lot of talk around shopping local these days and for good reason.  Businesses in small rural communities across the country are struggling to survive and are in major competition with online businesses that are in a position to provide whatever you need, whenever you want and at very competitive prices.

And then there’s cross border shopping which, let’s face it, has been around since the beginning of time.

More importantly though, is in this weak economy, we always look for the best deal first and whether the deal is true or not, south of the border is where we look first.

I think as consumers we need to realize the dollars we spend in our community stay in our community.

Our local businesses are the biggest supporters of sports teams, not-for-profit organizations and local initiatives. Studies show that for every dollar spent at a small local business, 32¢ leaves the local economy.

But, when you spend that same dollar at a chain store, 57¢ leaves – that’s more than 50 per cent of the dollar that ceases to impact the area in which it was spent. Modest changes in our spending habits can generate substantial local economic impact.

The bottom line is, if we don’t support our local businesses how can we expect them to support us?

I’m not suggesting that every bit of your shopping is done locally or that you forgo that annual overnight big city visit but what I am suggesting is that we all slow down and spend more time and more money locally, to support our local merchants and inevitably our community.

– Sarah Winton is the manager for the Boundary Country Regional Chamber of Commerce. Her column will appear in the Grand Forks Gazette monthly.

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