Chamber Corner: Shop local!

As we leave 2020 behind, what remains is an uncertain long- and short-term future for our small businesses, retailers, restaurants and entertainment establishments.

Our local, state and federal governments have been putting in place packages through grants and PPP loans to help soften the blow that businesses have endured and will continue to bear in 2021. Now you have heard it many times, even hundreds of times by now, what can one do, the answer is: Shop Local.

This year, more than ever, “shop local” takes on a whole new meaning. When you make the choice where to spend your money, please remember, the first place schools, fundraisers and sports groups — just to name a few — go to for donations are small business owners. Some just can’t say no.

When you are a national chain or a large corporation you can put the blame on the corporate office. But when you are the corporate office, it’s hard to say no. In addition to paying taxes, local businesses donate thousands of dollars to all kinds of causes and fundraisers, even through this pandemic.

Those national chains will get through this with the backing of investors and Wall Street, your neighborhood business might not be so lucky. Then who are you going to ask for a gift certificate donation or even better, your child’s first job?

“Personally, I’m really excited for a fabulous 2021 and hindsight is 2020,” said Auburn Chamber of Commerce President Steve Londergan.

Some facts about shopping local:

  • Your buck goes further. For every $100 you spend, $68 goes directly back into your local community, compared to $43 if you shop elsewhere.
  • Shopping local is a job creator, the busier the company, the more workers are needed to support the business’ productivity.
  • Shopping local builds a stronger community. Brick-and-mortar establishments bring in tax revenue, which help a city or town pay for police, fire, teachers and other costs to keep a community operating, safe and educated, making it a place people want to call home.
  • Local small businesses contribute 50% more in donations to their local community than big business. Who doesn’t see their local hardware store or favorite restaurant support one of the Little League teams in their city or town.
  • People tend to trust their local businesses, more than the bigger corporations. A local store often specifically orders a product that appealed to a customer, just so that customer would be able to purchase it the next time he or she shopped. Many times, the store owner finds other customers would purchase that same product and make repeat purchases, all because of a suggestion from one customer. Customer service is the name of the game, and why would one not go back to an establishment that went out of its way to do something, just to make someone’s life easier. Well it happens, and it is one of many reasons folks tend to trust their local retailers more often than not, all due to these bonds and relationships made. You will find that during this time of uncertainty it is your local small business — not the national chains —that is willing to go out of its way and change up its processes to benefit you. Many local businesses make adjustments daily to fulfill the needs of their community and customers

As we look to make our next purchase, consider a locally owned establishment that may carry the product you desire. Do you really want to cook tonight. Maybe one day out of the week you order takeout from a local establishment. Keep in mind, the money you spend locally stays in your community, you are lowering your carbon footprint by shopping local, you are helping small business owners and their workers feed their families. The benefits to shop local are so great, and the amount of energy spent on shopping local is so small.

How to search for a local business in your area? Why your local chamber of commerce’s website, of course:

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