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Shop local this holiday season

After a successful Downtown Open House kicked off the local holiday shopping season, we’d like to encourage everyone to think about the positive impacts that shopping locally has on our community. Locally-owned, independent businesses are the foundation of our local economy. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $73 remains in the local economy, and $27 leaves as compared to every $100 spent at a non-locally owned business, where only $43 remains in the local economy, and $57 leaves. When you shop locally owned businesses, your money is recirculated over and over and creates up to 75 percent more tax revenue to your community and state.
But local business is more than an economic powerhouse. It is the direct response of neighbors to the needs of other neighbors. Seeing storefronts filled and the lights on in local businesses provides a sense of vitality in our community. Local, independent businesses give back to our community by collectively being the largest donors to local nonprofits. From hosting community events to embracing a more sustainable environment, these businesses are part of the core of this fabulous place we call Americus and Sumter County.
As you do your holiday shopping this season, whether it is buying gifts, decorations, or regular goods and services, think about the local businesses you are supporting, and how they support our community. Whether it is by participating in community events, such as the Taste of Sumter or Downtown Open House, giving to charity, supporting our schools, or simply providing jobs, local businesses are valuable community partners, and deserve our support.

Ben Andrews is director of Community Affairs for the City of Americus.