I can’t remember the first time I heard the old saying “What goes around, comes around” but I’m pretty sure it was during a lesson by my grandmother about the virtues of being kind or staying out of trouble. It can really apply to many things, but have you ever thought about this phrase as it relates to our local economy?
Beginning in December, a program called Buy Local First! will market the unique shopping opportunities and many professional services available right here in Washington County. Sponsored by the Springfield-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, City of Springfield, Washington County Fiscal Court, Main Street Renaissance Committee, SWEDA, New Pioneers, The Springfield Sun, Channel 6 Television and Commonwealth Broadcasting, the goal is to have our residents make purchases in our community first before going to outside communities, thereby keeping those dollars right here at home.
Several studies have shown that when you buy from or do business with an independent, locally owned business, a significantly greater portion of your money is used to make purchases from other local business providers – continuing to strengthen the economic base of our community. Simply put, for every $100 you spend in Springfield, $45 goes back into our community and tax base.
Another thing to keep in mind is that these local business owners support our non-profit organizations, school groups and churches all year long. One study showed that non-profits receive an average of 350% more support from local business owners than from non-locally owned businesses. You support them, they support you – what goes around, comes around.
With the holiday shopping season in full swing, take a look at your list and then think about all the locally owned businesses in Washington County. If there are items on your list that are sold here, buy local first! To help you get started, here are a few ideas:
• Gifts for him – tools from one of two local hardware stores; gift certificate from one of three local automotive supply stores; musical instrument or accessories from our local music store; gift certificate to one of several local barber shops; lawnmower from local equipment retailers.
• Gifts for her – necklace from the local jewelry store; sweater or blanket from local alpaca farm fiber stores; home décor item from several local gift shops; gift certificate for a manicure, pedicure or massage; handmade rosary from our local religious goods store; gift certificate for a night out of the kitchen at one of our delicious restaurants.
• Teacher gifts – Christmas ornament or photo album from a gift shop; gourmet coffee from the coffee house; candle from a local candle maker; arrangement from the local florist; gift certificate to the local video store.
The list goes on and on, but you get the idea. Can you get all your shopping done here? No. We understand that there are things that just can’t be found in our community, but if it can, do your part and Buy Local First! There are many locally owned businesses that are run by our friends and neighbors and they are waiting to provide personalized service with a smile. Remember what my grandmother said – what goes around, comes around. And from an economic standpoint, that is a very good thing.
Dawn Pettus is Executive Director, Springfield-Washington Co. Chamber of Commerce.