Magner: Why shopping local is important

With Thanksgiving behind us, we know that Hanukkah and Christmas are right around the corner.  For many of us this is a festive time of year when we get to spend time with family and get to experience the joys of both giving and receiving.

For many of our small and local business neighbors this is also their most important season of the year.

To help encourage you to shop local this year, the Greater Shreveport Chamber is promoting our small and local businesses with our Small Biz Santa game.  Visit http://www.smallbizsanta.com to learn about how you can get the chance to win one of our 11 prize packages, each featuring over $900 from more than 50 local businesses including food, merchandise and experiences.

So why is shopping local important?

When you shop local, you’re making a personal investment in your neighborhood and community.  In fact, for every $100 spent, about $68 of stays in the community, about $25 more than with a non-local business.  Money is kept in the community because local businesses often purchase from other local businesses, service providers, and farms. Purchasing local helps grow other businesses as well as our region’s tax base.

But there’s more!

Most local businesses are owned by people who are our neighbors in this community and are more invested in the community’s future.

The shops we visit, restaurants we frequent and where we have fun – are all part of what makes our community home. Our local businesses, boutiques, restaurants and experience venues are a large part of what we, and our visitors, love about Shreveport-Bossier.

On average, non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.

Small local businesses are the largest employer nationally and provide the most jobs to residents. Since the 1970s, nationally more than 65% of new jobs have come from the rise in small business.

Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and possess distinctive character.

So, this season when you are looking for that special gift for someone special, or that gift for the person who has everything, or the thank you for that teacher or coach, visit the Chamber website at http://www.shreveportchamber.org for a list of our members and then head out to some of our unique local businesses. And while you’re out shopping local, stop by that restaurant you haven’t visited yet, or pop into that coffee shop you’ve been wanting to try.

We think you’ll be glad you did, and we know they’ll be glad to see you.

Dr. Tim Magner is President of the Greater shreveport Chamber of Commerce