Does Supporting Local Really Matter?

As Christmas draws near, I've had an alarmingly amount of people tell me that they plan on doing all their Christmas shopping on Amazon, so much so, that I feel incredibly compelled to speak on it. 

I am not the one that typically brings attention to things like this, and please note, this is not a selfish call out. I am just as guilty as the next person with the convenience factor of Amazon, the free two-day shipping awesomeness and the fact that you don't have to actually get in your car, drive to the store and deal with the chaos and the craziness of the lines and traffic.

When you hear someone say "Amazon is killing small businesses" they may be right. But why should anyone outside of business owners care?

Through the convenience of Amazon, typically better "deals" and all the wide selection of items available, we are completely forgetting about our local economy. The small mom and pop stores we all love and cherish so much - a lot are not going to make it through another year. Why? Because most of them depend on the last 3 months for over 75% of their entire income FOR THE YEAR. And instead of shopping small and supporting local, we (I included) have turned to this mass quantity corporation that is Amazon. We get sad when local stores close, but we choose to shop online instead of walking in the doors. We get upset when we go into a store downtown and the prices are higher than those on Amazon and so we choose to spend our money online instead, without thinking of the bigger picture.

This has me wondering, how big of an impact will this have on the continued success of our local businesses? The businesses that have made such an impact on our local economy, the business owners that have done so much for our community and continue to work so hard to provide not only amazing experiences for us all, but work to actually make our community world-class and unique. The businesses that employ you and I, our friends, our families, those businesses, those local businesses, those are the ones seeing a direct effect from the money we decide to spend.

This made me wonder what the actual statistics are from shopping local, so I went and did some research, and this is what I found: on average, over 79% of all money spent on a locally owned business STAYS local compared to a scary 30% spent at big box stores and guess how much of that is local when you buy on Amazon? Goose egg. Zilch. Nada. (Honestly, from all the research I found, I didn't find anything that stated Amazon has any support on our local economy, if I'm wrong, please speak up)

From talking to local business, sales are down, and not just down, but close to closing down. This makes me so sad and heart broken. I know some local business will be making announcements soon on closing, businesses in our beloved city that so many love and cherish and I just can't be quiet any longer. 

This isn't a lecture. This isn't to try and make you feel guilty. This is honestly just a reality check. If you want local businesses to continue to thrive and simply stay alive, then you must step away from the computer, jump in your car, and get in their doors.

I'm not saying all purchases on amazon need to cease (I know they won't), I'm just wondering at what point does so much business get passed on to online non-local corporations that we begin to feel it? Will it be too late?

Yes, I am a local business owner. Yes, my business is being affected by Amazon. But, thankfully, the past 5 months of this year have been so incredible and our community has supported us so much, that we will survive this Christmas season. Others will not. Others that I know would never speak out, because it's just not the "midwest way."

So, I'm making a pact this year, I will not buy a single Christmas gift from Amazon. I spent most of today driving around town to find the gifts on my list. Was it a little frustrating dealing with certain (41st street) roads? Ya. Did I have to wait in line at check out for a lot longer than I would have liked? You bet! But, I made the conscious thought that there aren't ONLY 14 days til Christmas, there are over 336 HOURS until Christmas and that I plan to spend a few extra hours this year shopping local and continuing to support our economy right here in Sioux Falls.

I am challenging you to do the same. #shopsmall #supportlocal

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