By REBECCA KUBACKI
---- — By REP. REBECCA KUBACKI
The holiday shopping season is here, meaning it is crunch time for businesses. The next few weeks will be critical for retailers, especially on days like Black Friday or Cyber Monday. There are so many choices nowadays that it can sometimes be overwhelming to shop for presents. However, this season I would like to invite you to think and shop locally.
Small businesses return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors. Independent restaurants return more than two times as much money per dollar of sales than national restaurant chains. If you haven’t already heard, Saturday is “Small Business Saturday,” a nationwide event to encourage holiday shoppers to spend more dollars at local, independent businesses.
According to www.independentwestand.org, a website that promotes educating and promoting the benefits of buying local, if just half the U.S. employed population spent $50 each month in locally owned independent businesses, it would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. This would equal a big boost in our local and state’s economy.
The real reason to buy local, in my opinion, is for the experience. This year, I tried to get a head start on my Christmas shopping. I started at Absolutely Apparel and Gifts in Syracuse and purchased some lovely gifts, but not before catching up on the news of the week with the owner and friendly staff. From there, I went to two antique stores in my community that both had 20-percent-off sales, followed by a short trip to Nappanee to visit L.J. Wagner Home Interiors. Afterward, I went to our local hardware store, Teghtmeyer Ace Hardware for Christmas lights and finished my shopping with a visit to Bales meat market for my dinner meal.
In all of my shopping experiences, I was told how much the store owners appreciate my business. These local merchants are the ones that support our little league teams, school sports and families in need. They are valued and invested members of our community, and they need our business.
The people who run these smaller businesses are invested in our community and want to see it do well. The concept of shopping local is not only about boosting the community’s economy, it’s also about supporting the livelihood of your friends, family and neighbors. So this holiday season while you’re shopping for that perfect gift, I would encourage you to remember the good you will do by supporting local businesses in our community.
Unfortunately, for those who are unemployed, this holiday season will not be a happy one. Hoosiers are most giving and we will do everything we can to bring joy to families who have fallen on hard times. Instead of asking for that extra present this year, consider donating to ToysforTots.org, any of our local charities or call your local school to see how you can contribute to a family in need.
What better time than this holiday season to celebrate life and be hopeful for a brighter future? Have a very Merry Christmas and may God Bless us this holiday season.
Rep. Rebecca Kubacki (R-Syracuse) represents portions of Elkhart and Kosciusko Counties.