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Shopping local: The gift that keeps giving

Posted on November 24, 2021

OpinionColumns

Brandy Bynum Dawson

Brandy Bynum Dawson

“When you prioritize local purchase decisions, you are putting meals on the tables of your neighbors and helping the businesses that sponsor your child’s sports team,” said David Jackson, president of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “You are making community in the simplest way possible, while also supporting the unique businesses that make rural North Carolina so special.”

Amidst widespread supply chain disruptions, delivery delays and other continued logistical challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this Small Business Saturday and holiday season is the perfect time to rethink how we shop for gifts and how we can better support the people and communities behind our small businesses.

For more than 30 years, the N.C. Rural Center has worked to support small businesses across the state. Our commitment to our state’s entrepreneurs comes from the understanding that small businesses are the cornerstone of our small towns, suburban neighborhoods and urban metros — and behind each product or service is a person, a story and a community of people who are depending on one another.

The Rural Center’s passion for North Carolina’s entrepreneurs runs deep, and I could tell you at length how shopping small, local and rural this holiday season supports our state’s small-business owners and their communities. However, I think it’s better to let some of our state’s entrepreneurs and small-business advocates speak for themselves.

Michele Burgess, president of the Henderson-Vance County Chamber of Commerce, says that not only does supporting a small business offer shoppers a personalized experience, it also helps the local area long-term.

“It confirms to a business that they are wanted in the community,” she said. “But more than that, local businesses employ local people, and when small businesses do well, they expand and help broaden our local tax base so the community can continue to grow and develop.”

And Kelly Barber, owner of Renaissance Spa & Salon in Halifax County, says that when a community member supports and/or visits the salon, it’s not just her employees who feel the impact.

“In the short term, it keeps the lights on and provides an opportunity for our service providers to care for their families,” she said. “But long-term, it helps our service providers continue to run their independent businesses in a way that prioritizes their families and invests in their futures.”

It’s clear to see that supporting your local small businesses provides a gift to your community that keeps on giving. So however you choose to celebrate this season, consider supporting your local entrepreneurs in the process.

Unsure where to start? Visit the website for your local chamber of commerce to view the businesses in your community! And if you want to do even more for North Carolina’s small-business owners, consider joining the more than 400 entrepreneurs and advocates who are part of our N.C. Small Business Coalition working to make sustainable change for their communities. Learn more at ncruralcenter.org.

Brandy Bynum Dawson is senior director of policy and advocacy for the N.C. Rural Center.

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