As the holiday season approaches, the exclamation of “Shop Local!” grows as local businesses hope to earn your business. It’s a message that is often heard from family-owned businesses that often lose business to online suppliers or national chains. When you shop at independent, local-businesses, more money is kept within our community. Oftentimes, that same local business you just bought from, buys products from other local service providers and companies in St. Louis. Odds are it’s probably a company that you, a family member or friend work for! But what does “shop local” mean, exactly? If I spend my money at Taco Bell down the street or the Sam’s Club next to my work, does that mean I “shopped local”? Both businesses are in my community and my neighbors work there, so aren’t I spending my money locally? To put it simply, no. Using national chains is not shopping local and we’ll explain why. Why Shop Local? One of the most common questions we get is why shop local? Well, when you shop with big-box retailers you’re simply hurting your own community by doing so. It simply makes the most sense to keep your money local in the St. Louis community. Do you know where your dollars go when you spend them? Have you ever heard of the “Multiplier Effect”? The multiplier effect is the boost in your local economy that results from locally-owned independent businesses, owners, and employees spending business revenue within the region, according to the American Independent Alliance (AIBA). A proven, 48% return to our community occurs when you shop locally, versus 13.6% when shopping elsewhere. How Shopping Local Benefits the Economy You get a job, you get a job, and you get a job! When a company has steady business, they need to hire employees to serve customers. When business is booming, they need more employees! This means that more and more jobs become available for our neighbors, friends, and family! Low unemployment is often regarded as a positive sign for the economy. As we mentioned before, shopping local benefits our economy by 48% (as opposed to 13.6% when spent at chain retailers). But, what exactly does this mean? This means that home-grown, St. Louis businesses can give back to our community on a continuous basis. A few ways a company can give back is through sponsorships and/or community events (sponsor for your kid’s soccer team, provide a donation for the local animal shelters silent auction, or become a sponsor at the local police/fire trivia night). Shopping local in St. Louis also helps ensure your tax money is going back into your regional tax base. Local taxes are used for parks, roads and community improvements which we all benefit from on a daily basis. What about franchises? Are they local? Franchises are often seen as a local company. However, franchises still have to communicate with their headquarters. Oftentimes, those who own a franchise have to get approval to provide a donation or become a sponsor for your kids’ elementary school play. Unfortunately, there is no connection between the community and the out of town headquarters. Don’t forget that as a franchise owner, they have to pay royalties. This cost can range anywhere from 5 to 6 percent of volume and these fees can reach as high as 50%! Don’t spend your hard-earned money to just have it sent out of state, keep it in our community and shop local. #ShopLocalSTL As you begin your holiday shopping this year, be sure to use #shoplocalstl and share with us what local businesses you’re supporting! About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946 by Earl and Nancy Woodard. Today, the company is run by 3rd generation, Justin Woodard. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Woodard services the greater metro area (Illinois, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Louis County, and many more). Woodard is proud to serve as the preferred provider for cleaning & restoration services. Our cleaning services include carpet, hard surface, furniture, and rug cleaning for both residential and commercial properties. We also provide water, fire, board-up, storm and smoke restoration services for residential and commercial clients. For information or questions submit a form online or call us at 314-227-3932. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.