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From the Chamber’s Desk: Business and community walk together hand-in-hand

Kristen Pyrz-Brown - Albany Chamber of Commerce chief executiveAlbany Advertiser
CEO ACCI Kristen Pyrz-Brown.
Camera IconCEO ACCI Kristen Pyrz-Brown. Credit: Laurie Benson

A little while ago, I had a conversation where the assertion was made that support needed to go into the “community” with the distinction being made that this did not include business.

To say I was surprised, bemused, indignant and any manner of other such synonyms would be to understate it.

Most of all, however, I was curious to find out why local businesses weren’t considered part of the “community” that currently requires the support of our decision-makers. I’m still awaiting an answer but to my mind, you can’t have one without the other.

The concept of shopping local and supporting the local community has never been more critical, especially during a cost-of-living crisis.

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While price is an important factor when making purchasing decisions, understanding the broader value of our purchases can have a significant positive impact on both the local economy and the overall wellbeing of the community.

Here are a few key points to consider;

1. Economic impact: When you shop local, a larger portion of your money stays within the community. Local businesses tend to reinvest a higher percentage of their earnings back into the local economy, which in turn creates jobs, stimulates economic growth, and supports local infrastructure development.

2. Environmental benefits: Supporting local businesses can help reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation and shipping, as products don’t need to travel long distances to reach consumers. This can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly community.

3. Job creation: Small and local businesses are often major sources of employment within a community. By supporting these businesses, you’re helping to maintain and create jobs for local residents, which is crucial for economic stability.

4. Stronger social connections: Shopping local can foster a sense of connection and interaction among community members. It’s often easier to establish relationships and engage in meaningful conversations with local business owners and fellow patrons, contributing to a stronger sense of belonging.

5. Philanthropic contributions: Many local businesses are active supporters of community initiatives, charities, and local events. When you shop local, you indirectly contribute to these philanthropic efforts and help improve the overall quality of life in your community.

6. Quality and uniqueness: Local businesses often take pride in offering high-quality products and services, often with a unique touch that sets them apart from larger chains or corporations. To truly understand the value of your purchases beyond the price tag, recognising that your consumer choices have a broader impact on the wellbeing and vitality of our community.

By making conscious decisions to support local businesses, you contribute to a more resilient and vibrant local economy, which is essential during times of economic challenge.

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