You have heard it before; you will probably hear it again. Small, locally-owned businesses are the “lifeblood of America.”
Here’s what you possibly didn’t know about how your spending directly impacts your tax rate, your quality of life, your kids’ education and their future.
You already know that small, local businesses keep $67 for every $100 spent within the local economy.
But, studies from Buy Local First Utah tell us that is four times more than what a National Chain keeps in a local economy. And, of course, when you shop outside of your community $0 comes back to your local economy.
So, what is your local economy? What does that mean? And most importantly, why should you care?
Sometimes we think of an economy just as businesses. A healthy economy just means that businesses are making money, right? Well, a healthy economy is so much more than that.
A healthy economy looks like an appropriate level of inflation, affordable housing costs, good quality of life, low unemployment rate, realistic tax rates, and a realistic standard of living.
A healthy economy looks like jobs for you, jobs for your kids, and jobs across multiple industries.
A healthy economy looks like schools that are funded, dependable public services with less government debt, reduced local poverty, and improved living standards.
In San Juan County we have local businesses that donate thousands and thousands of dollars each year to our local schools and after-school activities, often with zero to little return. Small locallyowned businesses care about their community.
They are the businesses working in schools. They work with our kids to give them job experience, help them decide what they want to be, and give them learning opportunities.
They donate to after-school activities, the arts programs, and our sports teams.
They donate the sports calendars, they help organize local fundraisers, they pay student organizations to decorate Fourth of July floats, service at parties, and take down Christmas decorations.
Bear Skins Custom Ink creates fundraisers for any team or club that needs it by creating t-shirts and hoodies for their teams to sell.
Yak’s Cafe sold blueberry pancakes and donated two-thirds of the total income to one of our local football teams. Small, locally-owned businesses care about schools. That directly impacts our children. That is putting our dollars to work.
Small, locally-owned businesses care about our causes. Do you have a local cause that you care about? Our local businesses are called all year long to help drive and support local charitable organizations.
Per dollar spent, local businesses donate 250 percent more than national chains. Without these businesses, many of our causes would fall to the dust.
Play Unplugged is a national program that helps kids spend their summers exploring, learning, and turning off screens.
Our local businesses work with our Future Business Leaders of America chapter to provide free badges, activities, and even incentives to our youth.
Local businesses pay into this program to help give our kids great things to do in the summertime.
The BKE Scholarship is a local scholarship that supports young sportsmen and women headed off to college. This scholarship is 100 percent supported by donations.
These donations come first from our local businesses in the form of cash donations and goods to auction off. Local businesses are the first line called upon to support local causes and they always seem to rise to the occasion.
When you spend a dollar with a local realtor you are helping contribute to the causes that you care about.
Local businesses also drive our local events. Without our local vendors, events like Dutch Oven Days, the Tree for All, the 24th of July, the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife Banquet, the Stampede Pro Rodeo, and even the Fourth of July would most assuredly cease to exist as we know them.
Our local businesses donate time, money, goods, and services to make these events a reality.
Imagine a Fourth of July or 24th of July without business participation. Think just of the parade floats. Strip away the supporting businesses and we are left with tractors, cheerleaders, political, and a few family floats.
While we all love those things, stripping away our local businesses would leave us with a bleak parade indeed.
What of the booths and other local events throughout both days? Our parks full of fun, excitement, face painting, shopping, and food just became an empty park full of people with nothing to do.
Dutch Oven Days and much of the 24th of July is run by the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce is funded by local businesses. Without local businesses, we lose our chamber.
Without our chamber we lose not only the events they put together for us but, their voice for our cities and community, their support in workforce development, and the programs and resources that they provide.
We might overlook the value of our businesses because their participation in our local events, causes, and schools seems so natural, so expected.
Perhaps we don’t notice because these businesses are an everyday part of our lives. It is like the sun rising each morning. We rarely stop to think of the value of that sun rising because it happens every day and we expect it to continue forever.
The benefits are not something that we have to work for so they are rarely something we stop to appreciate.
But, when you think about what we get from the sun, if you truly stop and think about the weight of our dependence on that sunrise, the gratitude is overwhelming.
The same is true for our local businesses. We depend on them to survive. It is possible we just never thought about it before.
Shopping with small, locally-owned businesses also increases their value. This also benefits you. When you spend money locally, you contribute to the local tax base. Currently, in San Juan County, we are facing a property tax increase.
As expenses have increased and business revenue and tax contributions have decreased, residents and remaining businesses alike are being called upon to fill the gaps.
When you spend your money locally, you help support and secure a steady and dependable tax base that can help prevent your own taxes from increasing.
The benefits of shopping locally are vast but the takeaway is this: every dollar that you spend benefits somebody. Shopping locally helps make sure that someone is you.
Let’s get out and start exploring what is available in San Juan County. A spending shift as small as ten percent can have a huge impact on our small businesses, and therefore in our own lives.