Shift 10 percent of your holiday shopping to local retail

Buying local has multiple positive impacts on the community
By Katelin Cook
Special to the Herald Times
RBC I During the holiday season shop local campaigns can be found nearly everywhere. But the true question always comes back to: What does shopping local mean for me and my community. How much benefit does that really bring to my community?
Let’s start by defining “local.” Typically, this has a geographical association with the definition, but when looking at “local” business it is important to understand that the largest community impact comes when patronizing locally owned, controlled and independent businesses. This could mean local contractors, accountants, insurance brokers, graphic designers, printing companies, restaurants, banks and most commonly thought of retail businesses, as well as the majority of Rio Blanco County businesses.
Many studies have been done documenting the percentage of money that is recirculated through the community when money is spent at a local business. The most common statistic shows that for every $100 spent with a local business, $68 is re-spent in our community through employee payroll, goods, contractors and services provided by another company in the community, and donations to local charities and organizations. Local branches of a national chain retailer return, on average, around $43 per $100 spent, and online shopping returns virtually no money back to the community (with the exception of the delivery workers who live within Rio Blanco County). Locally owned, independent businesses return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors. Shopping locally adds up to a huge difference in creating local jobs, local wealth, supporting the many youth and nonprofit organizations and providing greater community sustainability.
National and local efforts are underway to help consumers better understand the impact their dollar has on the local community. American Express sponsors the Small Business Saturday campaign, which was highly successful for multiple businesses in Meeker and Rangely this year. The local chambers of commerce sell Chamber Bucks, selling approximately $27,000 in 2017, which will produce more than $18,000 in community impact this year alone. The Town of Rangely proudly administers their “Shop and Dine” program during the month of November, with this year exceeding $8,000 in local business vouchers being spent within the community, producing an overall impact of more than $80,000 in retail spend. The Rio Blanco Herald Times hosts their “Shop At Home for the Holidays” campaign, and their investment of $500 produces an additional $340 being reinvested in our local businesses.
According to ABC news, the average American will spend $700 on holiday expenses this year, and if Rio Blanco County residents would consider the model of “Shift 10,” which encourages patrons to shift 10 percent of their shopping to local retailers, this would result in $70 of holiday shopping being done locally per household, resulting in a 44 percent increase in sales tax collection when compared to 2016 totals.
So, as you finish up your last minute Christmas shopping, and as we look at our financial spending plans and budgets for 2018, I would encourage you to think of ways to shift your 10 percent. The impact to the communities we love will be great!


The Multiplier Effect of Local Independent Businesses ;

Katelin Cook

Katelin Cook is the Director of Economic Development for Rio Blanco County.