Shopping small makes a big impact

Published Nov 20, 2013 at 6:00 am (Updated Nov 21, 2013 at 9:38 am)

Much like the recent push to eat local foods, supporting local retailers is a trend that is on the rise. Black Friday has long been a kick-off to the holiday shopping season, with big box stores and shopping malls opening earlier and earlier each year, offering extensive discounts and early bird sales to shoppers.

American Express founded Small Business Saturday in 2010, aiming to support small businesses across the country. The concept has radically taken off – American Express reports that in 2012, shoppers spent $5.5 billion on Small Business Saturday.

“Small bones are the backbones of the business industry,” said Brian Schill, executive director of the Peters Township Chamber of Commerce. “Our chamber is mostly comprised of small businesses. They are the people who live here, in addition to the people who work here. You help every aspect of the community by supporting small businesses.”

According to the 3/50 Project, an initiative that urges people to spend $50 at three independent businesses each month, for every $100 spent at local, independent businesses, $68 goes back into the local economy “through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.” With a national chain store, only $43 comes back to the local economy.

For those who tend to shop online and partake in Cyber Monday deals – be aware that $0 comes back to the local economy.

“By supporting small businesses, you are helping them thrive. They, in turn, help the community thrive. It takes time and money to upgrade facilities, and it really helps the aesthetics of a community,” Schill said, adding that when people are driving through an attractive community, they are more likely to consider relocating their own home or business to it.

And when you think about it, shopping small is really a simple, small thing to do – and the rewards are big.

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