Chamber of Commerce Exec: Shop locally this holiday season

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Chamber of Commerce Exec:  Shop locally this holiday seasonOnce Thanksgiving celebrations draw to a close this Friday, the holiday shopping season will begin in earnest.

Over the years, spokespeople for the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce have enumerated the many reasons for keeping your shopping dollars local — spending money here supports residents and contributes to our tax base, one dollar spent here typically has a stimulus effect of being spent five more times, investing in local ventures improves the chances of those stores remaining open, enriching shopping choices.

“I understand, acknowledge and value all of the traditional economic benefits, and I think they are very important,” said Tim Smith, executive director of the chamber.

When he and the board reviewed the chamber’s mission statement earlier this year, he said that everyone agreed that the essence came down to building community and strengthening economy.

“Shopping locally really supports both parts of our mission,” said Smith. “There are people who can better articulate the hows and whys of local spending and the numerous ways that benefit all of us. What is important to me is the community-building perspective. Having personal interactions and building relationships with local people are the reasons I come back to a business.”

“If you go into, say, Red Rock Books — you are supporting someone who is in turn contributing to our community. That doesn’t necessarily happen when you purchase something online,” he said.

“Same thing if you are looking for a specialty perfume. Before you buy it on Etsy, see if you can find it in one of the shops on Balsam Street.”

In addition to paying into the tax base that pays for infrastructure, safety, quality of life and other services, Smith noted, these local businesses are also often the ones who sponsor local clubs and sports teams.

“When you go into the pizza shops, you see on the walls the posters or plaques that acknowledge their support, which again is an important part of ‘building community, strengthening economy.’”

He said that service is also typically better when you transact business with a neighbor. “I would much rather have a person-to-person interaction with someone who knows the product, can make recommendations, have conversations with you. You’re building a relationship that you don’t get from a machine or from the internet.”

Pictured: Tim Smith, Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce executive director

Story First Published: 2019-11-29