PROOS: Support local small businesses by buying nearby

As a result of our efforts to create a positive environment in Michigan for business investment and job creation, the unemployment rate in our state has been cut by over 70 percent since 2009 and is at its lowest rate in nearly 18 years.

As we work to continue Michigan’s comeback, we must make sure to support our home team employers and workers.

Locally owned small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, the fuel of our economic engine and the enshrinement of the American dream.

To highlight the important role small businesses play in both improving and sustaining Michigan’s growing economy, the Michigan Senate adopted Senate Resolution 186 to name Oct. 5-7 as Buy Nearby Weekend.

It is about encouraging residents to support local business by shopping at area businesses and keeping more dollars in our communities.

During the weekend, shoppers are also encouraged to share their positive experiences at local retailers by posting photos and comments on social media.

Michigan retailers are responsible for 877,000 jobs across the state. If we continue the successful reforms that help make Michigan a great place to start a small business and support our Michigan-based businesses, we can continue to grow that number.

By shopping nearby, consumers can have an enormous impact on the ability of family-owned businesses to compete and create new opportunities.

If Michigan shoppers switched just 10 percent of their out-of-state purchases to a Michigan retailer, it would create a $1.2 billion boost in economic activity, over 10,000 new jobs and roughly $350 million in additional wages.

Each purchase made at Michigan stores means more money for Michigan families, more resources for job creation, and more ability to improve our communities and quality of life.

I encourage the people of southwest Michigan to join me and my family in buying nearby this weekend and throughout the year.

JOHN PROOS, R-St. Joseph, represents the 21st District, which includes Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties.