Help local businesses, community by shopping local

Help local businesses, community by shopping local

Did you know if every family in the U.S. spent an extra $10 each month at a locally-owned, independent business instead of a national chain, more than $9.3 billion would be directly returned to local economies?

Statistics like these inspired the founding of Independent Retailer Month, a “shop local” event taking place throughout the month of July to encourage consumers to shop at their local independent businesses.

Independent retailers can often form the backbone of community development, and they have an important place in Kinston.

“The more people you can get downtown, the better,” Leon Steele, executive director of Pride of Kinston, said. “It’s about collaborative mutual support, and the camaraderie is important to revitalize downtown.”

That camaraderie is built by the people who own and shop at local businesses.

“Locally-owned businesses are run by friends and neighbors, the people you hang out with and the people you rely on every day,” Steele said. “We need to be supportive of our family.”

In addition to supporting the community, shopping local has great economic benefits to a town.

“Shopping locally not only offers job opportunities, but it also puts money back into the community,” Laura Pressly, owner of La Petite Boutique in Kinston, said.

According to South Dakota Rural Enterprise, Inc, a dollar spent at an independent retailer is usually spent six to 15 times in the community before heading out of town. Just $1 can create $5 to $14 of value in the immediate area.

In return for their patronage, customers receive a higher level of service from local businesses.

“The good customer service you get in towns like Kinston goes beyond customer service and becomes personal service,” Steele said. “You only need to pick up the phone and call H. Stadiem and say ‘I need a red tie and shirt for an event tonight,’ and they’ll have it pressed and ready for you when you drop by to pick it up.

“You don’t get that at the mall.”

As Independent Retailer Month continues, Steele recommends local businesses include the campaign in their social media posts and offer other information to customers such as where they can park downtown.

“If we don’t shop locally, then the money goes elsewhere,” Steele said. “Enjoy and explore.”

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