Dear Editor:

Keep your money at home this holiday season by shopping at locally owned businesses first!

Buying local helps build a more prosperous and healthier community by strengthening the local economy with money spent being retained in the community. Buying items made closer to home cuts down on fossil fuel use, and reduces the carbon impact on our environment.

Reduced transportation costs can also mean more affordable goods. Experiences at local establishments are completely unique, expressing the local flavor of the area. Local business owners are more likely to get involved and to contribute to community efforts than corporations that own big box stores.

Money spent locally stays in the local economy and continues to strengthen the economic base of the entire community. Small, local businesses make indispensable contributions to communities and neighborhoods and at a higher rate than larger or out-of-state corporations.

Most job growth comes from local independent businesses. Locally owned businesses have less impact on local infrastructure compared to larger retailers.

Shopping at a local business has three times the economic impact that shopping at corporate stores does. For every $100 spent in locally owned, independent businesses, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you want a store or restaurant to survive, you have to make a conscious decision to spend there. Independent shop owners often look to nearby artists and manufacturers for inventory, which limit transportation costs.

Eat at locally owned restaurants, buy gifts from locally owned stores and shops, order catering from locally owned restaurants, buy your girt cards from locally owned stores only, shop for locally grown food, buy plants and flowers from locally owned florists and nurseries, plan your office party at locally owned meeting places or restaurants, shop at neighborhood and artisan events, support non-profit and charity shops, only shop online if it's with locally owned independent businesses, invite your friends to shop local with you.

By choosing to spend money this holiday season at local, independent businesses, we will have a direct, substantial impact on our local economy. Shifting just 10 percent of your holiday spending toward locally owned businesses has the potential to create an impact in just two short months, creating more jobs, increasing local tax revenue and building a more stable local economy for all of us.

Linda Yulanavage

Executive Director

Tamaqua AreaChamber of Commerce