Business

Shopping local reaps benefits, business leaders say

For every dollar spent at a local business, about 68 cents of it stays in the community. That’s compared to 48 cents for every dollar spent at a big box store or 5 cents for every dollar spent online.
For every dollar spent at a local business, about 68 cents of it stays in the community. That’s compared to 48 cents for every dollar spent at a big box store or 5 cents for every dollar spent online. Thinkstockphotos.com

This holiday season, shopping local will not only yield unique gifts for secret Santas and loved ones, but it will also help the community grow.

“The people you are buying from when you shop local are your neighbors,” Centralia Downtown Association President Jan Nontell said. “The main reason why I shop local is because I want to support the community … It is important as a community to support each other.”

For every dollar spent at a local business, about 68 cents of it stays in the community, CDA Executive Director Scott White said. That’s compared to 48 cents for every dollar spent at a big box store or 5 cents for every dollar spent online.

“We want to encourage people to try to choose local first so that our local economy is fed with the sales tax dollars and also the overall business,” Centralia-Chehalis Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alicia Bull told The Chronicle in an email. “For many businesses the holiday season is a huge share of their sales for the second half of the year. We keep our local businesses alive and well if we purchase items from them versus taking our money out of area. If we support the local businesses, they in turn often turn around and invest that money back into our economy.”

White said instead of trying to stop people from going to big box stores or online retailers for Black Friday sales, the CDA is simply encouraging people to also shop at local businesses on Saturday. Shoppers can go to big sales and buy a new gaming system or TV, he said, then return to local businesses to buy the unique gifts.

“People who want to have a better community shop locally,” White said.

The money spent at one local business will be used at another and so on, he added. Many of the businesses support local landmarks such as the Fox Theatre.

Nontell said she has done about 85 percent of all her shopping from local businesses. The money she spends not only stays local but it helps other members of the community to prosper.

Prices at local businesses are competitive with the big box stores, Nontell said. If the price is a little higher, it is worth it in the long run, she added. That business owner is just as committed to the community and will spend the money in the community, she said.

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