HOW TO: make an impact with your holiday shopping

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As you head out to complete (or begin) your holiday shopping this weekend, how do you decide where to purchase?

Lowest sticker price? Most convenient location? Selection? Perhaps a combination of those.

How about impact on your community?

Grilling at a St. Paul Public Schools picnic

Multiple surveys prove that every dollar spent at local, independent businesses has on average three times the positive economic impact than those spent at absentee-owned businesses (i.e. headquartered not here). And here’s why:

All revenue stays in the community. The payroll is respent and multiplied as is all costs of inventory, because it’s locally purchased. Those dollars are then respent again, locally. In contrast, if the owners take the profits and payrolls out of the community, those dollars never return. See American Independent Business Alliance for more info.

That’s because local business support other local businesses and organizations.

My grandpa, Jim Warner — who founded Warners’ Stellian — followed a creed of supporting local organizations and was very generous, albeit humbly silent about giving. (And so too, his children who now own Warners’ Stellian.) In fact, I got an e-mail from a customer of my grandpa’s who said she still remembered his support of her local high school organization decades later and how she appreciates the relationship between local, independent business and the community.

Last year we gave 10 percent of our net profits to the community. I feel that’s important for us to say, not because we need a pat on the back, but because I think consumers still want to know the tangential effects of their spending decisions. At least that’s my hope.

This week, the Pioneer Press talked to local retailers and business alliances and economic pundits to answering the question of what it means to “buy local” in today’s global economy.

In the article, Metro Independent Business Alliance (of which our president Jeff Warner heads the board) executive director Mary Hamel said:

‘My personal opinion is a lot of the benefits are intangible — what it does for the community, the aesthetics,’ said Hamel, executive director of St. Paul-based Metro Independent Business Alliance, which has been asking Twin Cities residents to ‘buy local’ since 2005. ‘I want to live in a community where the owners of businesses live where their businesses are and contribute in countless ways — donations to charity, supporting local schools.’

So when holiday shopping, ask yourself what your community would look like without the support of local, independent businesses when deciding where to spend your hard-earned dollars.

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