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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Local Spending Helps Local Economy

Do you realize what happens when we take something or someone for granted? We usually make some assumptions that lead to decisions that might have a negative impact.

As we prepare to enter another holiday season, I realize how incredibly simple it has been to jump on the highway and scoot down the I-69 corridor to any given retailer that might suit our fancy.

It has become such a habit that thousands of us find ourselves heading out of town with the simple justification that there really isn't anything here so we'll visit surrounding shopping districts to pick up something nice.

It actually isn't just the proximity of regional malls, upscale retailers, and broader selections. It's also the internet with it's “don't leave your house” convenience of shopping online.

I watch as retailers pour the bulk of their seasonal budgets to draw the lint out your pocket into their cash registers and can't help but wonder how the holiday makes such an economic impact on so many lives.

For some companies, it is the holiday spending that keeps them operational during the year. It means making enough money to pay employees and keep them covered medically. Though thousands of people spend their money outside the community, there is a valid case to be made with spending your money locally this holiday season.

Spending money in our community means that we are investing in the local economy. It puts the pressure on businesses here in town to invest back into our community as well. It has been demonstrated with the millions of dollars Kroger invested in the Cross Street store or the $5 million invested by Ed Martin Toyota, or even in the new ownership team (The Cook family) out at Mounds Mall.

I recently posted to Facebook images that I took of available retail space and received numerous emails from individuals who hadn’t seen the renovations to the inside of the mall. It is not just the mall. It is the economic welfare of the entire community that depends on local dollars.

When potential retailers looking to move to town see local spending they are more likely to bring stores that we travel to closer to home. Many national retailers are relying strictly on the numbers.

According to the retail & Commercial Opportunities Guide put together by the Economic Development Department for the City of Anderson we have traffic counts on our streets that range from 10,000 to 48,000. We have a population within a 10 mile radius of roughly 430,000 people. However you look at it we could make the numbers work for new business and businesses already here in town, but our case will not stick if we don’t put our money back into the local economy to help the cause.

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