The holiday season is upon us and that means it is time to do a lot of SHOPPING! We have gifts, decorations, and lots of other stuff to buy to be ready for all the festivities associated with the end of the year. Most of us think about how much money we are spending this time of year, but do we ever consider where we spend our money and how that decision affects us the rest of the year?
I know it's tempting to make a mad dash to other communities to complete all your holiday shopping, but once you consider what happens to your money once it leaves your hands, you quickly realize that you shouldn't give into that temptation. I shop locally because I can see the benefit each and every one of the dollars I spend locally has on the entire community and what it brings back to me personally.
By shopping locally you are supporting the businesses that provide jobs and income for your friends or family. I'm sure we all have friends or family who work for or own an area business, if we don't shop locally these people might not have their job. This really put things into perspective for me about shopping locally, it's not worth seeing a business close or a friend lose a job cause I decided to go shopping in Norman when I can get everything I need locally.
Shopping locally also provides public benefits through local tax dollars. If we want to see improvements in our streets and other public services, then we need to shop locally. Local government is dependent on sales tax dollars to provide public services and make street improvements in the community. If we shop locally, we are supporting these local improvements, if you shop elsewhere you're paying to pave someone else's street instead of your own.
Local businesses also donate to community organizations and groups. Our local Wal-Mart donates thousands of dollars to area organizations each year, and numerous small businesses donate money and items to area charities. Could you imagine our community without these local non-profits? I can't and I know that without the support of local businesses these organizations wouldn't be able to provide all of their current programs and services.
Another reason I shop locally is the more money that is spent at local retailers, the more attractive our community becomes for other retailers to locate here. One of the primary focuses of my job is to work with existing retailers and recruit new retail operations that fill the existing gaps we have in our community. As more money flows through our local economy instead of through other communities economies, the more attractive our community becomes to other retailers. We all want more retail options in the area, but if we continue to spend our money in other communities these communities will continue to see their retail options grow while ours stagnate.
By shopping locally, you're making the choice to support jobs, public services, community organizations, and future growth. It makes sense to invest my shopping dollars locally, so I can see the return rather than to invest them in another community for someone else to enjoy my investment. I encourage you to Shop Local this holiday season and year round.