The Thanksgiving weekend marks the start of the holiday shopping season, with the official kick-off coming on the 27th or “Black Friday.” Before you embark on your shopping spree, something to consider: by making your purchases locally, 45 cents or more of every dollar spent goes back into the community. The Big Bear Chamber of Commerce has had a “Shop Big Bear” program in place for a year and, per the Chamber’s President Sara Russ, “Shopping locally improves the quality of life in Big Bear. Since Big Bear is by far a small business-owned community, shopping locally directly impacts the wealth and economic prosperity of the community.” According to a recently released statement from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, shop local efforts have been proven to at least protect independent companies from the worst of the recession; independent retailers in cities with buy-local campaigns saw holidays sales drop 3.2% from the previous year, compared with 5.6% in cities without them.
If you are not yet familiar with The 3/50 Project, a national campaign to save brick-and-mortar stores, it suggests that shoppers pick three local retailers, spend $50, and save the local economy. To elaborate, pick three independently owned businesses you would miss if they were gone, then make a point of stopping in and purchase at least a little something; your contribution is what keeps these mom-and-pop stores in business. Further, per the 3/50 Project, if just half the employed people in the U.S. spent $50 each month in independently owned businesses, these purchases would generate more than $42.6 billion in revenue. Third, for every $100 spent in independently owned stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures; if you spend $100 in a national chain, only $43 stays here, and if you spend that amount online, nothing comes home to Big Bear. So, pick three, spend $50, and save the local economy.
On December 3, the Big Bear Chamber will host a special Shop Big Bear event but, in the meantime, the Chamber’s Chairman Ken Dally reminds, “Each of us plays a critical role in maintaining our high quality of life, and shopping locally is an integral part. Large or small, every time we ‘Shop Big Bear,’ we contribute to supporting our local economy and ensuring our businesses and the jobs they represent stay in Big Bear.”