Shop local: This holiday season, let’s support unique culture of North Lake Tahoe |

Shop local: This holiday season, let’s support unique culture of North Lake Tahoe

Cheri SprengerSpecial to the Sun

KINGS BEACH, Calif. – First it was just Shop Local, then it was Support Local, and then came the 3/50 Project, then Small Business Saturday … regardless of what you call it, it’s been said before – we should all shop locally. There’s always an excuse or a reason not to – lack of selection, cost, you name it. But we should all shop locally at least sometimes. Why?Here are some facts:For every $100 spent locally, $68 stays in the community. Small businesses employee half of all private sector employees. Small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms. For every year over the past decade, 60 percent to 80 percent of all jobs were generated by small businesses.Whether or not you choose to ignore the facts, think about the small business owner you know personally and how it will feel when he/she is out of businesses, and possible even homeless. Can you ignore that?This isn’t an “all or nothing” concept that insists you stop shopping in chains or never venture down the hill for supplies. Instead, our message is about balance – of the money you currently spend each month. The message is to redirect an affordable $50 back to the locally owned independent businesses that have been forgotten of late. Just as there are things in a locally owned store that you can’t find in a big box, there are also things in a big box you can’t find in a locally owned store. We simply need to think about where our dollars are best invested, consider the greater amount of revenue local businesses return to the community, then purchase accordingly. Otherwise, local economies suffer irreparable harm. Every year, North Lake Tahoe organizations spread a message about shopping locally, and every time we do that there are multiple comments about the inconvenience of shopping locally here in Tahoe. This holiday season, let’s all work on supporting the unique culture of our North Lake Tahoe communities and our small businesses by shopping locally, not for everything, but where we can reasonably afford to.Once again this holiday season you can win prizes while shopping local. The fourth annual shop local contest is happening now! Contest cards are available at businesses throughout North Lake Tahoe; every purchase made at participating retailers gets you closer to wining great prizes. For every $20 you spend, you’ll get a sticker for your contest card. Turn in you contest card by Dec. 31 and be entered into the raffle for great prizes from community business associations. Winners will be announced in early January 2011. Participating businesses can be found from Tahoe City to Kings Beach to Incline Village.So, Shop Local, support The 3/50 Project, participate in Small Business Saturday every year, support your local service business, Dine in Your Neighborhood and keep the wonderful small business community in North Lake Tahoe alive.Happy Holidays to all.- Cheri Sprenger isexecutive director of the North Tahoe Business Association.

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