As we enter the holiday shopping season it seems appropriate that once again we emphasize the importance of shopping local.
The reasons, all valid, have been stated and restated.
Keeping our dollars local benefits not only our businesses but also their employees, our schools, governments and more. It’s simple logic.
But this year, we’re broadening our approach to the importance of local. We’re focusing on why it’s important to “be local,” not just shop local.
What does “be local” mean? Just by living here, we’re local. Right?
Yes, but it’s about being part of a community. It’s about recognizing the importance all of us play in making that community a thriving, vibrant place to live, not just for now but for the future.
Sure, supporting local businesses is part of that. But it’s also about supporting local sports teams, the arts, nonprofits, community improvement projects and more.
That sort of attitude and action toward the betterment of a community falls on all of us.
When we see a the name of a business on a youth sports team’s uniforms we see a form of giving back. By sponsoring that team, the business isn’t likely to see great financial benefit but they are helping to make it possible for those teams to play. At the same time, individuals are being local when they donate to the local food bank, or attend a local theater production.
These things make our communities a place to enjoy and be proud of, not just live.
As just one example of being local, we profile Jerry’s Auto Supply. Jerry’s puts a great deal of effort into being a giving member of the communities it serves. Though most of what they do isn’t visible to most people, it is the sort of community-building mindset that helps us be who we are.
Though locally based business are the most obvious examples of “being local,” there are also national and regional companies with a presence here who bring a corporate culture of giving back.
In this digital age, it may seem less expensive and more convenient to order something from a giant online retailer but before we do, we should ask ourselves whether that is helping our communities in any way.
Other than the drivers who deliver those goods, the money is going elsewhere. Amazon has become a behemoth in the retailing sector and it is happening at the expense of Main Streets throughout the country.
We can’t stop or deny that sort of progress but by living our lives with a local mindset we can help stem the harm it could do to our communities.