Why Shop Locally? When you buy from a local small business, you are not paying for a third vacation home for some CEO. You are paying for dance lessons. You are buying a Little League uniform. You are putting food on a family’s table and sending a student to college. You are making the American Dream come true for someone in our community. Somebody you probably know.
In between the family meals with tables full of turkey and trimmings, the related holiday festivities and watching those favorite movies we all know and love, millions of people are planning on hitting the malls, outlet stores and online retailers for a little (or a lot!) of holiday shopping in the upcoming weeks.
As part of its Go Local initiative to dine local, shop local and bank local, the Independent Community Bankers of America, representing thousands of local community banks across the nation, is launching a “Go Local for the Holidays” campaign to encourage consumers to buy at least 30 percent of their holiday purchases at locally owned businesses.
According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, the biggest portion of 2012 holiday shoppers’ budget will go toward gifts for family members – and on average, about $422 will be spent on them!
Just think about how much good you’ll be doing if you buy even just a few of those gifts on your list from a small business. The money you spend will go towards helping local entrepreneurs to succeed, create jobs and keep money flowing within your community — similar to the way community banks serve their small business customers every day by lending to them and helping them navigate their local market. One of the important reasons they are able to do this is because community banks are small businesses too! They understand the challenges that local small businesses face and they value their customer relationship, not only throughout the holiday season but the entire year. In fact, community banks under $10 billion in assets provide nearly 60 percent of small business loans between $100,000 and $1 million!
It’s all part of a very symbiotic relationship between small businesses and their local community banks. So let’s get into the holiday spirit and add consumers to that list! I have no doubt it will make Santa and a few small business owners and their families very happy this holiday season — not to mention a happier community with more jobs and more dollars being circulated where they belong — locally!
— Terry Jorde, senior executive vice president/chief of staff at ICBA