There are 79 days until Christmas, that is 11 weeks! If your budget is like mine, I need to start thinking about Christmas and budget a little each month for gifts.

In 2018, the United States had 30.2 million small businesses in operation which account for 99.9% of all businesses in the country. Small businesses have a huge impact on our society. It is up to each member of the community to support our economy. We do that by shopping local.

Is shopping locally and shopping local the same? Yes and no, shopping locally is buying from big box stores in your community like Wal-Mart, Dollar Tree, etc. the chain stores, shopping local however is buying from locally-owned small businesses. When you shop at a locally-owned business 45% of the revenue stays in the community. When you shop at a local chain store only 14% of that revenue stays in the community.

Reasons to shop local:

  1. Keeps Money in our Community, building a Stronger Economy

Local Businesses hire local workers, local architects and contractors, local accountants and insurance brokers. All of this together builds our economy.

  1. Embrace what makes Jerome Unique.
  2. Creates jobs

Since 1995, 66% of new jobs in the U.S. are from small businesses.

  1. Supports our schools, police, and fire departments (through the taxes)
  2. You will get pampered.

The best gift is often the experience – the relationships you build with local business owners. Shopping local we build relationships with the business owners. Community is walking into the local coffee shop and having the owner greet you by name, the community is knowing about each other, asking about their lives, their families and genuinely caring about one another.

Learn about local businesses. Take some time to explore your town. I have lived in 2 Canadian Provinces and 5 U.S. States, adding it all up I have been the new kid on the block in 8 different communities. If you count the large city I am from and all the different suburbs I have lived in then it is more. The point is that through my travels (26 different states) and immersing myself in different communities, one of the highlights is exploring and learning what makes each place unique. Checking out the local shops, parks, restaurants, etc. I have often been asked out of the five states I have lived in which one is my favorite. I cannot answer that question each place I have been blessed to meet amazing people, build friendships, learn new things and see nature’s beauty. When we travel, people naturally ask you where you are from, and you are the ambassador for your community.

The advantage that businesses have with joining the chamber is it gives them credibility. Year to date, there have been 18,318 searches of people looking on the Chamber website to see if a business was a chamber member. Consumers prefer to do businesses with businesses who invest in their local chamber.

The national shop local campaign is every November, but truthfully this is something we need to do year-round. The local small businesses offer unique gems that typically cannot be found online. We challenge you to explore a small business in Jerome you have not been to yet.  to take some time to go to a business you have not been to yet and learn what they have to offer. The experience will be rewarding as you may just find that treasure you have been searching for, but more importantly you will start to build a relationship with the local business owner.

Cheryl Viola, MBA, Executive Director