Shopping locally will boost our economy

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By Jeff Moore

Everyone appears to be looking to Frankfort or to Washington to take action that will improve our local economy and put people back to work.
But that’s not necessary.
With the holiday shopping season here, you can have an impact on the economy in Carroll County by simply spending your holiday budget here at home.
There is always the lure of traveling to the city to visit the mall or the big box stores to make the purchases for loved ones and friends. But you can buy many of the same items here at home, often for the same price or less. Plus you will save time, the money you would have spent for gas and likely the hassle by avoiding the big crowds and traffic jams that leave shoppers frustrated.
Then there is the added benefit of supporting local shops, helping to keep their doors open and providing salaries for your friends and neighbors who work there.
An organization in Michigan that works to show why spending locally developed a list of reasons to shop local first. The information from Local First demonstrates the benefits of keeping money at home.
“When you purchase at locally-owned businesses rather than nationally-owned, more money is kept in the community because locally-owned businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers and farms,” according to Local First. Additionally the organization says purchasing local helps grow other businesses as well as the local tax base.
Here are some of the other points from Local First’s research:
• Non-profits receive greater support. Local business owners donate more to local charities than non-local owners.
• Unique businesses create character and prosperity. The unique character of a community is what brings people to a community. Tourism businesses also benefit.
• Environmental impact is reduced. Local businesses make more local purchases, requiring less transportation and usually set up shop in town centers rather than on the fringe. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.
• Most new jobs are provided by local businesses. Small local businesses are the largest employers nationally.
• Customer service is better. Local businesses often hire people with more specific product expertise for better customer service.
• Local business owners invest in community. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave and are more invested in the community’s future.
Local First research has also found that a marketplace with lots of small businesses leads to innovation and lower prices in the long run.
As you prepare to go shopping, look through the newspaper at the many specials our local merchants have to offer. Many are offering specials this week with Carrollton’s A Christmas Carroll celebration underway.
If you have something you’re looking for that you don’t see, ask them. Often they can order it and have it for you in just a couple of days. If they can’t, then they likely know someone who can.
You’ll find the experience of shopping local much more enjoyable than heading to the malls in the city.
And in the process, we can give ourselves the best gift of all this holiday season by buying local.
Jeff Moore is publsiher of The News-Democrat and The Trimble Banner and resides in Carrollton, Ky.