Editorial:

When you support small businesses …

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As hordes of shoppers flock to Black Friday deals across the country, those dollars may help a CEO in New York City buy a vacation home or take an extended trip to an exotic location.

But what about when you shop at a small business in Powell or support a vendor at a local craft fair?

To borrow from a quote that’s circulating online, this is what we believe happens when you shop at a small business:

  • You’re helping a hard-working couple pay their mortgage.
  • You’re supporting a student who is saving money to go to Northwest College next semester.
  • You’re paying for a child’s clogging lessons or swim team fees.
  • You’re helping a senior citizen pay for higher utility bills as winter arrives.
  • You’re enabling an entrepreneur to sponsor a Little League baseball team next summer.
  • You’re giving back to the businesses that help sustain our rural community.

When you shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants and use local services, your dollars are supporting the people who live here. Those dollars then circulate in our community. Studies show that for every $100 spent at a small business, $68 stays in the community — and has a direct positive impact on creating more jobs, according to the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies.

Of course, local dollars go a long way in supporting the jobs that are already here, too.

“Shopping local is an opportunity to give back to the community that you love,” said Jessica Brauer, the community coordinator for Laramie Main Street. “You’re telling business owners, ‘Hey, I see you. I appreciate you. You’re part of the fabric that makes this place home.’”

She told the Wyoming Business Council that small businesses have two things that big-box stores can’t touch: charm and community.

Tomorrow marks Small Business Saturday, a day for supporting locally owned businesses rooted in our community. While we certainly support the sentiment, we also challenge you to make this a Small Business Season — not just a single Saturday.

Yes, it’s true that some items cannot be purchased in our small town, and you’ll have to go online or across the border at times. But so many goods and services are available here, and it’s crucial to support the businesses that give back to this community.

Local businesses are often quick to help Powell youth, whether it’s buying a goat at the Park County Junior Livestock Sale or donating toward a fundraiser. Recently, businesses gave out thousands of pieces of candy to trick-or-treaters for Powelloween, then just last week provided delicious free food for shoppers during Sample the Season.

These are just a few examples of how Powell business owners support our community, but it’s easy to find others throughout the year.

Christmas can be a make-or-break time for local retailers. Look for ways to shop small and have a big impact on our community this holiday season.

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