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This Black Friday, put your money where your house is.

By Andrew Delmonte:
 
Shopping smart is more than finding the best deals or scoping out the fastest checkout line. It’s making smart choices with the money you spend, and being aware of where it goes after leaving your wallet.
 
People in Western New York spend a lot of time debating “economic development” and the big, strategic policies necessary to bring money to our region. They do so while swiping credit cards at big-box bookstores, or sipping cups of coffee at national chains, completely oblivious of the fact that they can take economic development into their own hands.
 
Consider this: a study conducted by Civic Economics in 2003 (one of many on the subject) found that for every $100 spent at a national chain bookstore, an average of $13 stays in the community. Conversely, if that $100 is spent at a local, independently owned bookstore, the amount of money retained in the local economy jumps to $45. It’s the same book – and it’s often a better cup of coffee – but a purchase at a local independent business keeps three times more of your money in the local economy.
 
For those of you who feel that your consumer purchases are small potatoes, there are plenty of economists who will tell you that household consumption accounts for a substantial amount of the nation’s economic activity – at least 45% by most calculations. And for the past three years, Black Friday spending has amounted to over $40 billion each year, according to research done on behalf of the National Retail Federation.
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Where we spend that money makes a huge difference. If we shop at a national chain, we send that extra $32 out of $100 elsewhere. If we instead make that purchase at a store owned and operated by someone in the community – whose business decisions, expenses and product sources are also based locally – we generate more economic activity in our own backyard.
 
That’s not to mention many of the other advantages of buying local, like the ability to find unique holiday gifts, or the fact that your local business owners might also be your neighbors, who use their income to take care of their – and your – neighborhood. There’s also the incalculable importance of preserving the business districts and unique cultural fabric that make Western New York a place you like to call home.
 
You see, the decision to shop local isn’t really about choosing to support local business; it’s about choosing to support yourself.
 
This Black Friday, make the pledge to “Give Local A Chance.” Many of our local business districts have their own Black Friday sales and events, which can be found on our website, www.buffalofirst.org. For a list of locally owned and independent businesses in our area, use the directory at www.buffalofirst.org/directory. And if you’re looking for something to do on Friday, come meet some of your local businesses and vendors at our Give Local A Chance Bash and Local Marketplace, 7PM, at Main (St)udios, 515 Main Street.
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