With the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce promoting the entire month of November as Shop Small Month and the Christmas shopping season already underway at many Grand Island retailers, it’s time to emphasize the importance of shopping locally.

As the chamber is emphasizing this month, every dollar spent in Grand Island “turns over” up to seven times. Spending locally supports the payrolls of the stores at which you shop and the employees there spend much of their paychecks locally as well. Plus, the local sales tax revenue supports our community’s infrastructure, as well as its services and recreational facilities.

Shopping online or in a bigger city, on the other hand, gives that support to “a faceless online business or another community,” said chamber President Cindy Johnson.

“Shop and buy in Grand Island, as those are the businesses that support the projects that are important to all of us,” Johnson said.

Whether you find the items you want to buy at Grand Island’s big box stores, smaller national chain stores or locally owned retailers, the fact that you make the effort to do your holiday shopping in Grand Island makes a big statement about your support of the community and the people who live and work beside you every day.

A big concern for the chamber is the economic well-being of our community’s local businesses.

“Low sales and limited cash flow are the main reasons local businesses close,” said Dana Dennison, the chamber’s vice president, who is overseeing its shop locally campaign. “It is tough for small businesses to survive their first five years in business.”

The chamber is challenging local and area consumers to look for a local retailer or service provider instead of an online or out-of-town retailer. The hope is that consumers who are successful in doing this in November will continue to shop at those local businesses throughout the year.

Americans have continued to do more shopping online in recent years and even local businesses are trying to take advantage of this by making it possible to place orders by telephone and online and have your purchases delivered. If that time-saving convenience makes it easier for you to get the rest of your shopping done locally this holiday season, that’s great.

But taking the time to look around at what local businesses have to offer is part of the fun of Christmas shopping. You may discover some businesses you didn’t even know exist and you definitely will see that Grand Island has more gift ideas to offer than you expected.

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