Let’s face it, more of us spend more money this time of year than any other. We give gifts to others and we shop for ourselves (yes, I know what you do on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday). In doing this we need to give ourselves the gift on strong communities and a strong region.
As I high school student I worked in a bicycle shop. I lost count of how many people would come in to our store, try on a helmet or get a good look at an accessory and then leave the shop. I’m certain that they were going home and ordering it. (Back in those days, we called it mail order.) Those days are gone (as is that bicycle shop), but the problem remains. Too many of us are eschewing our local businesses and buying goods and products in other states and online.
I know, there are great deals to be had on the Internet. But let’s face some facts: every dollar spent in your community circulates six or seven times. That means one dollar works just like seven. You pay the local merchant and he pays an employee. That employees eats at a restaurant, buys tires and contributes to his church. In fact, studies have shown that of each dollar spent locally, at least 68 cents stays local.
On the other hand, when we go online to make a purchase, the money we spend leaves and never comes back. You may get a great deal on something, but what is the real cost? Sure, we might think one mouse click won’t hurt, but it can. It can lead to closed-up businesses, higher unemployment and ultimately, a lack of growth for all of us.
When the local scouting troop needs a sponsor, do you think they call on Amazon? Does Overstock.com support the local Little League team? Do the high school cheerleaders get money for new uniforms from Zappos? Probably not.
This year, please consider where your money goes. Spend it in your own community. Of course, my hope is you will do your shopping in Carbondale, but if not our stores and shops, please shop in Murphysboro or Marion or one of the other towns in the area. Please go beyond that and join many of your neighbors and friends in pledging to Shop Southern Illinois. (Visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ShopSouthernIllinois, follow us on Twitter @shopsouthernil and use the hashtag #IBuySI; you could win great prizes.)
When you shop locally, not only do you support your local stores, you help hire local people, you keep sales tax revenue here (where it is needed) and you can get a good feeling of doing the right thing.
It’s like a Christmas gift that last all year long.