We have heard time and time again about the importance of shopping locally but with the holiday season just around the corner it becomes more important than ever. But dollar for dollar what does choosing a local retailer mean for your community? When push comes to shove, it's a lot more than wasting fossil fuels on goods flown in. Local shopping puts dollars into your community and keeps the stores that make your community unique in business.This year my Columbia, S.C. community is making a big push toward shopping locally this holiday season. And in a town where each week I watch a local store go bankrupt due to a difficult economy and huge retail competition, this is a long time coming.
According to an article in The State,
BuySC.org, a website from the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce, lets consumers search for local retailers by county or category. Listings for businesses are free but can be upgraded for a fee.
And shopping at smaller retailers benefits your community more than you may know. When you spend $100 at a local store, $45 of those dollars stay in your community but when you spend $100 at a multinational store only $13 of those dollars stay in your economy. And what's more, if you want local choice, you have to support these stores or they won't last. While up front your costs may be a bit more, supporting your local economy means more jobs, more choice, and the opportunity to support the ideals that you find important with your dollars.
Parnick Jennings, co-founder of the Bartow Business Connection, detailed the sobering facts of local patronage.
If we don't [shop locally], come the first of the year some of our friends are not going to be in business -- I fear that. Last year, there were several that because they did not generate enough business during the holidays, which is the major time they make their money, they won't be here.
More on Holiday Shopping
Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Low-Impact Luxury for High-Impact Giving
Best of Inhabitat: Holiday GIft Guide 2010
Adrian Grenier Does Your Holiday Shopping, Al Gore Helps 30 Rock Go Green, and More (Video)