Big Bear, Ca, January 28, 2011, 8:00am – We always hear people say “when you shop locally, you help support our local businesses and improve our local economy” – but is it really true? According to a recent survey it is. The Institute for Local Self-Reliance released a report on their 2011 Independent Business Survey.  The survey, which was conducted this month and gathered from 2,768 independent, locally owned businesses, found that communities with “buy local” campaigns reported revenue growth of 5.6% on average in 2010, compared to 2.1% for those that didn’t.   Business owners active in these community initiatives also reported a wide range of benefits, including greater customer loyalty, more new customers, increased local media coverage, and more awareness and support from city officials.  The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce has had a “Shop Big Bear” campaign for three years, which has been focused on increasing awareness in three key areas:  showcasing the types of items and services available locally; demonstrating the financial impact that shopping in Big Bear has on the local economy; and educating the community about the economic benefits of supporting our 1,200 small businesses.  Marlene Cain, Chairman of the Board, Big Bear Chamber of Commerce pointed out that  $ .45 of every dollar spent locally goes back into our community.