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Buying local is more than money

By Gabby Kinneberg

Fri, Nov 16th, 2012
Posted in All Features

By Gabby Gatzke

This time of year we are often reminded about the importance of shopping locally for Christmas gifts at our small local businesses. When you buy locally, not only are you giving small business owners an opportunity to continue to keep their doors open, but you are giving individuals the ability to grow up in a small town, raise a family and be active community members.

Personally, I have had the opportunity to be a daughter of a small business owner. Although a farm girl at heart, my mom purchased Chic’s Pizza in Preston when I was in the 4th grade. This is when I was first introduced to the life of a small business owner, and a family business for that matter. I quickly became a Preston girl in the blink of an eye.

I can tell you that there are things that I learned only because of my mom’s small business. I learned the importance of being friendly to each person that walks through the door, even if they aren’t always friendly in return, if you give to your community your community will give to you and the customer is always right (of course!). I have also had the opportunity to participate in a few community projects like the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, which was an idea presented to my mom and myself while we were at work one day. And the best part is through the years I also gained quite a few “adopted” grandparents.

The people in the community really do become your family. Although everyone has joked about me taking over for my mom when she eventually decides to put her recipes to rest, Chic’s actually helped me go to college to get my bachelor’s degree at Winona State and do something I love to do, graphic design. And I was able to do this all on my own, thanks mostly to my employment in a small, locally owned business.

When we go to the local grocery store and buy a grocery cart full of groceries we may not know just how important that $100 worth of groceries really is. The other day, I was waiting in line at a local store and I overheard someone say, “Shop locally, who can do that?” This person of course was referring to the idea of shopping local being expensive.

In reality, when you total the amount of money it takes you to drive to Rochester or other larger cities, some things really are cheaper here in our small communities. Yes, I understand you’re not always going to buy everything at a local business. Sometimes it’s convenience, sometimes it’s due to your budget, but the truth is that when you spend your dollars locally you really are making a big impact on someone’s life. I can testify to it. I would not have had the opportunity to go to college, meet amazing people, have a vehicle to drive and save money for a house someday. I realize you can have this opportunity without owning a small business, but I do think that it’s important to know that your dollars spent locally impact your community more ways than you may even realize.

So I ask each and every one of you, please take the time to think of a few small businesses that you can patronize this holiday season instead of spending your dollars in big corporations. You may not spend all your dollars in a small business but the dollars you do spend will be greatly appreciated by each and every small business owner, and maybe even their children, 24 years later!

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