SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: No better time to shop local

Maureen Wendt

The holidays will likely be different this year for many. According to those who track consumer habits, the industry says that three in 10 consumers started their shopping earlier than usual this year and one in 10 consumers is expected to procrastinate.

For those who still have shopping left to do, I want to share what happens when you shop local and encourage you to do so.

More of your money will stay in the local economy. For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community. What happens when you spend the same $100 at a national chain? Only $43 stays in the community.

Locally owned businesses use local resources, employ local workers and serve primarily local consumers. The unique character of our local community is defined in large part by the businesses that reside here. When you personally know the people behind the business where you're buying local, you enjoy a connection you would not otherwise have. Along with the rest of the community, you celebrate when a favorite local business succeeds and you mourn when it's forced to shut its doors.

A successful business environment plays a big factor in our overall community satisfaction with where you live and value of home and property. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community's welfare and future.

Locally owned businesses pick the items and products they sell based on what they know you like and want — and often carry a wider array of unique products because they know the local market. You are business owners' friends and neighbors and locally owned businesses have a vested interest in knowing how to serve you. They are passionate about what they do. Why not take advantage of it?

Local business owners know you and you know them. Studies have shown that local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.

Nurturing local businesses ensures a strong economy. Buying local has benefits beyond mere convenience. When you support local business owners, you get a better level of service, as well as helping make your community a better place to live.

So, finish your holiday shopping at a local retail store and with a restaurant gift certificate — and keep it up in the new year. Happy holidays to all.

Maureen A. Wendt is president and CEO of The Dale Association, a non-profit organization that provides senior, mental health, in-home care, caregiver support services and enrichment activities for adults. For more information, call 433-1937 or visit www.daleassociation.com .

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