By Sally Miller, For Sustainable Woodstock
This time of year, most of us are shopping for gifts and we may also be thinking about year-end contributions to our favorite charities. As in past years, Sustainable Woodstock urges you to “act locally” by supporting our own community’s businesses and nonprofits.
A sustainable community requires an economic base of healthy local enterprise. When we act solely as consumers, interested only in price or selection, we actually pay a hidden cost and lose some of the vitality in the place we live. Vibrant downtowns are inviting public spaces that bring communities together and help us maintain a sense of place. Choosing local and independent is an effective strategy all year-round, but especially important at the holidays. As customers, we collectively spend a large portion of our annual shopping budget between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. When you shift those dollars to locally owned, independent businesses about 4 times more of your purchase will stay in the local economy compared to buying from a chain outlet.
The National Retail Federation estimates more than $678 billion will be spent on holiday shopping in 2017, and the holiday season can be a “make or break” time for our local retailers. Consider the overall value that independent retailers provide you, as well as the important civic and economic benefits they offer our community when making your shopping choices.
By shopping local you:
• Keep your money in the local economy longer.Local businesses keep your money here longer. Local retailers hire local people, pay local taxes, and source goods locally. An American Independent Business Alliance study found that $100 spent at a local store produced $52 worth of local economic activity, while $100 at a national chain kept only $13 local.
• Shape the character of our community. Where we shop, where we eat and have fun — all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses contribute to our community’s distinctive character. Spend local and embrace our unique identity.
• Feel good about your purchases. Local businesses are owned by people who live in this community and are invested in the community’s future. By getting to know them, you build trust and a connection to your neighbors. Plus, local businesses often take more time to get to know customers, meaning better service for you.
• Support good jobs. Our locally-owned businesses are collectively our largest employer. Local small business is a great source of job creation.
• Reduce environmental impact. Locally owned businesses make more local purchases — meaning less transportation, lower energy and fuel costs, and less excessive packaging.
When you choose locally owned businesses for yours hopping, you create a ripple effect. It starts with your own experience and the benefits that you get from shopping at independent stores, like getting to rely on local retailers’ expertise. But then, the effects keep going. By shopping at local stores, you connect with your community; you strengthen your local economy and keep it vibrant. Year-end charitable contributions also offer us a significant opportunity to act locally.There are many organizations, including SustainableWoodstock, working to raise the quality of life for all in our region. Learn more about them and find a few that resonate with your values and your hopes for the future.
The transition to a more ecological way of life requires all of us, in our daily choices and interactions, to shift from casual consumption to thoughtful stewardship of resources. To help build a more resilient community, please support local businesses and nonprofits in your year-end shopping and giving.
Do Just One Thing…
Support local businesses and nonprofits with your year-end shopping and charitable giving.