Viewpoint: Let's pay it forward, locally

When the going gets tough, we all must stick together. So next time you're out and about, looking for something to wear, or need to pick up a gift, think local. By supporting locally-owned businesses you can "pay it forward", keeping money in the local economy and keeping local business owners in business...

Recent studies across the country show that, for every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 stays in the local economy, creating jobs and expanding the city's tax base-three times the amount generated by a national chain or franchise store.

When you do the math, it's easy to understand why it's so important to keep those dollars in the local economy by shopping and eating at locally-owned business.

Local businesses employ an array of supporting services in their communities, such as architects, designers, cabinet shops, sign makers and construction contractors. Local businesses use local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, and attorneys to keep things running smoothly.

In return, those hired by local businesses, return the favor by doing business with them. It's back scratching in its highest form.

While calling an 800 number or shopping on line, may provide some instant gratification, in the long run it may cost more than you bargained for in terms of the value local businesses return to their communities.

In addition, local business owners and employees typically have a high level of expertise and a passion for the products they sell. They also tend to have a greater interest in getting to know their customers, who are, after all, also their neighbors and friends.

Local businesses create a sense of place for a community, but they can only survive if they are supported. Local owners, who typically invest much of their life savings into their businesses, have a vested interest in the long-term economic health of a community.

They are also essential to local charitable endeavors, and their owners frequently serve on local boards and support numerous causes, all in the name of building a better, stronger community for those who live there.

So remember, pay it forward... Buy local. Eat local. Be local.