LASATA: Lend a helping hand this holiday season

Published 1:35 pm Friday, November 12, 2021

Owning and operating a business is the cornerstone of the American dream. For generations, people have traveled to America in search of a better life and greater economic opportunities. Shopping at big-box stores and online is convenient but comes at a cost. We need to do what we can to keep this dream that many still hold alive and support mom and pop businesses in our communities.

As the state continues the slow recovery from the pandemic and we move into the holiday season, I encourage shoppers to patronize local businesses in their communities. Not only does supporting these businesses strengthen Michigan’s comeback, but each purchase also benefits the local economy and directly supports the community, local schools and infrastructure.

Our state is home to a number of industries and has an incredibly diverse selection of small businesses that offer a wide variety of services capable of meeting the needs of all Michiganders. By shopping locally, and supporting these businesses, consumers can have an enormous impact on the ability of family-owned businesses to compete, grow and create new opportunities.

Many family businesses are owned by our friends or neighbors and supporting them means supporting our community as well as helping these families keep their dream alive. These are the people who sponsor local tee-ball teams, donate to our schools or school programs, and who donate their time and effort to local events and charities. Supporting them also means supporting local jobs, which helps many families keep a roof over their heads and food on their plates.

I encourage folks from across southwest Michigan to get out and support your favorite local businesses — whether it is a local restaurant or other hospitality establishment, a local market or anything you choose. In addition to visiting these businesses, a great way to help is to purchase gift cards to your favorite shop or restaurant and give those away as gifts. This gets more people through the doors of these businesses and will provide a welcomed boost this holiday season.

If Michiganders redirected just 10 percent of their out-of-state e-commerce, our state would gain $1.9 billion in increased economic activity and countless new jobs. Join me this holiday season in lending support to the businesses who have dedicated their lives to serving their communities and show your appreciation by spending your hard-earned money locally!

Sen. Kim LaSata, R-Coloma, represents the 21st state Senate District, which includes all of Berrien, Cass, and St. Joseph counties.