Shop local this holiday season
by Jack Mcneely
Nov 18, 2012 | 754 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jack Mcneely
Jack Mcneely
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As we approach the busiest and most profitable shopping weekend of the year, I would like to encourage everyone to have a “local-first” philosophy when it comes to personal and family holiday shopping strategy.

With all retail stores from the mom-and-pops to the big boxes jockeying for your hard-earned, gift-giving dollars, your decision to shop locally can have an immediate impact on the local economy here in Jasper and Walker County.

American Express is promoting small business this year with its “Shop Small” campaign this Saturday, Nov. 24. Sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday is a day dedicated to supporting small businesses nationwide and right here in Walker County.

American Express is offering a $25 statement credit for card customers that register this week and spend that $25 at a participating small business. Just go to www.shopsmall.com and search Jasper and you will find nearly 100 small businesses at which you can earn the $25 credit.

But that is nothing compared to what the Walker County Chamber of Commerce offers each year via its “Chamber Checks” campaign.

Chamber Checks is a unique program designed to encourage people to shop at home and pump money back into our local economy. The checks, which come in $10 increments, can be used for many purchasing needs, such as Christmas gifts, groceries, power bills, medical services, clothing, dinner out, car repairs and even a newspaper subscription.

Chamber Checks may be used at more than 200 chamber-member businesses. A complete list of participating businesses are available at the chamber office inside the Community Health Systems Activities Center in downtown Jasper. The checks must be used within 90 days.

These checks spend just like cash. They are great for special occasions. And during this time of year, businesses can give them out as holiday gifts. The checks are distributed in a nice information brochure, explaining how the program works and where the recipient may redeem their Chamber Checks.

The checks include the recipient’s name, the dollar amount ($10), and the name of the person or company giving the check.

Meanwhile, the following are my top five reasons to shop locally:

1. Money spent here stays here. If residents of Walker County would transition just 10 percent of their out-of-county retail spending to in-county spending, Walker County businesses would gain more than $3 million in sales.

2. Jobs and wages. Supporting local businesses provides support to the jobs they offer.

3. Local business owners invest in our community. Local businesses are owned or managed by people who live and work in our communities, raising their families and investing in our communities’ futures. They support our churches, our schools, our organizations and our quality of life.

4. Convenience equals savings. Shopping locally saves you time and money. A shopping trip outside our county costs you for every mile you drive, each way, and valuable time away from your home.

5. Friends and neighbors. Local businesses employ local residents, your friends and neighbors.

Live here. Buy here. Thrive here.

Jack McNeely is Publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle and can be contacted by phone at 205-221-2840 or via email at jack.mcneely@mountaineagle.com.