NELDON: Five reasons to shop local

This week, our tummies were stuffed with turkey and all the fixings. We’ve taken advantage of Black Friday deals at larger retailers, and now it’s time for my favorite holiday of the week: Small Business Saturday.

Although many of us are heeding warnings to avoid crowds and shop online this year, it’s important to note that small businesses can still be supported from the comfort and safety of your living room. Most local businesses offer online ordering, curbside pickup, appointment shopping and/or capacity limits.

Though these items may not come with same-day shopping like some of their larger competitors, there is plenty of reason — and plenty of time — to opt for shopping local this holiday season. Here are five:

Invest in your community. When you spend money locally, the majority of your hard-earned paycheck stays in your community. Locally owned businesses are more likely to source products from other local businesses and employ residents of the community in which they serve. Not to mention — local taxes enable your local officials to invest in your community.

Increase property value. When searching for a place to start families, homeowners are more likely to choose to reside in a community with a prospering business district. The convenience of nearby shopping, the charm of unique local businesses and the sense of community that comes with a vibrant downtown district attracts homeowners — and other businesses!

Give back. Who do you call when you need a sponsor for the annual golf outing? Who donates pizza to your child’s class party, or hosts a fundraiser for a neighbor in need? Our local businesses give back to their customers all year round. Shopping local is a great way to thank them — and ensure that they may make more contributions for years to come.

Find one-of-a-kind gifts. Because our local businesses are one-of-a-kind, you can find gifts here that you can’t find anywhere else. Shop for treasure in one of our many antique or vintage stores. Give the gift of a night out of the house by purchasing a gift card from one of our local eateries, or for services from one of our hair salons, spas or fitness centers.

It’s been a rough year! Last, but certainly not least, 2020 has been one for the history books. While all of us have been impacted in some way, locally owned businesses have been hit harder than most, thanks to efforts that have shut down various industries in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Now more than ever our businesses need your support.

This week, we were reminded of all we have to be thankful for in spite of an exceptionally challenging year. Let’s keep that positive mindset and ensure that our local businesses have plenty to be thankful for this holiday season.

To find out how you can support our local businesses, visit the webpages for chambers of commerce in Niles, Dowagiac, Cassopolis, Edwardsburg and Buchanan.

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