Buy local this Christmas

Val Stadick

Minot

I find it frustrating that as our local and state leaders discuss all the lost revenue in our state that they leave out one very important factor – the revenue that is flowing out of our state due to the increase of e-commerce.

As the owner of a local bookstore and a founding member of Local 1st Minot I believe it is imperative that we include this in our discussion of our weakening economy. In just one year over $732 million (nationwide) in state and local sales tax went unpaid. This means the more Amazon and other out of state retailers and businesses grow less money stays local for teachers, firemen, and our police.

Are our city council members, our teachers, our police, our firemen, our librarians, our park workers, our governor, our leaders considering what they are doing to affect their own pay and job security when they click that BUY NOW button on-line? There are real and lasting repercussions to be had through our shopping habits – not only in empty store fronts and longer unemployment lines, but also in the quality of our education and services that our community can offer.

Real estate? Who wants to buy a home in a community that is cutting back on services? How many realtors consider that where they purchase their next toaster also affects their ability to close that next sale? When a teacher or a school principal chooses to purchase on-line do they consider how that will cut into next year’s budget? We are all connected in the community and the less we keep it home the less we will have it at home.

Please consider this as we move into the holidays – consider how your quality of life and that of your neighbors are affected by your choices. Try to move some of your shopping local – according to the American Independent Business Alliance on average, 48 percent of each purchase at local independent businesses was recirculated locally, compared to less than 14 percent of purchases at chain stores and none when you shop at Amazon or other on-line retailers.

Not one person in our community is exempt from the adverse effects of the increase in e-commerce–not one. I’d love to challenge our business and community leaders to include the Shop Local message in their discussion when they consider our dwindling resources – it’s a much bigger problem than anyone realizes and one that deserves their immediate attention – especially considering that e-commerce is projected to grow in double-digit figures. I don’t know any local business that can survive a double-digit decrease in sales – nor the communities in which they reside.

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