By Marc Abshire and Richard Stephens
“SHOP LOCAL” CAMPAIGNS are not new.
For decades, small businesses in small- to medium-sized towns have urged local residents to make their purchases at local stores, especially during the critical holiday season.
But we bring this topic up now with, perhaps, a new perspective — as Port Angeles locals who not only love where we live, but also care personally and professionally about our local business community.
All the reasons expressed before are still compelling, and still apply: a better chance you’ll get better customer service; local stores are more likely to carry locally produced foods, supporting local agriculture and local jobs; sales taxes paid provide important support to the local community, fixing roads, maintaining recreational facilities, supporting important local programs; shopping nearby reduces your carbon footprint; and shopping local supports the local businesses who, together, represent the largest source of funds for local charities and the most jobs.
Research and studies, as well as common sense, have concluded that something around 80 cents of every dollar spent locally stays local — ultimately supporting everything in the community we all hold important and dear, from sports and music programs, to better roads, first responder services, medical facilities, libraries and education.
The opposite is true, of course: You can be sure that about $1 out of every dollar spent online or in another community, state or country will stay exactly there, and will result in just about zero benefit to Port Angeles.
All of these reasons abide and are still important. But we would like to inspire our neighbors to consider another perspective on the topic: Shopping local is a civic duty.
Yes, of course you can be a super consumer and find whatever you’re buying at a similar or lower price, delivered right to your door in a day or two, by ordering online.
Or, yes, you can drive an hour or more away and find what you’re looking for at a lower price (not counting the cost of gas and time to get there and back).
But none of that helps anyone around you, in your immediate community, other than, maybe, you.
Every time you make a purchase, somebody benefits. Wouldn’t it be better to shop local, not just because it feels better, but better because your purchase means you are also benefiting your community in some way — rather than someone else’s community?
Your local businesses are owned and managed by your neighbors — people who share and enjoy your community with you, in many ways. Let’s all consider supporting our neighbors this year by shopping local.
This includes getting out and enjoying a meal at one of our awesome, less crowded (this time of year) restaurants, who need your patronage to help them get through the winter season.
Port Angeles is blessed with many great restaurants, with plenty of parking and very little traffic to get there. So, let’s keep it that way by getting out and supporting them.
We’re not necessarily promoting commercialism during the holiday season, but if you intend to shop during this holiday season, we highly urge you to stay right here in our extraordinary community to do so, and help to keep Port Angeles extraordinary and wonderful.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays.
Marc Abshire is the executive director of the Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Richard Stephens is the board assistant of the Port Angeles Downtown Association.