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Small businesses are heart and soul of our economy

Shopping local is about supporting the local economy. A vitalized economy is fed by the spending habits of consumers – enhancing employment, sales tax, property values, salaries and more. To maximize the opportunities for local communities to thrive, local residents must spend their budgeted dollars locally.

The Sycamore Chamber supports the belief that everyone must be a booster for their own community. When a resident shops at his neighborhood store, he is generating jobs for others and sales taxes that build our community. Simply making a decision to buy in your neighborhood can cause a profound change in our economy locally and in our quality of life.

We have a lot of chamber member businesses locally that carry unique items and provide excellent service. We should all make it a point to search out these community gems and help them succeed.

These are the entrepreneurs and families who have put everything into stores that offer what the chains and e-commerce companies don’t – something different, something special, genuine friendly service.

The media tend to focus on the Fortune 500 brands everyone knows, but small businesses represent 99 percent of U.S. employers, and they employ about half of the nation’s private-sector workforce, according to the latest figures from the federal government.

We can’t have a strong economy unless our small businesses are doing well – and right now they need our support more than ever.

According to the National Federation of Independent Business’ latest Small-Business Optimism Index, the outlook among small-business owners is still wary. The survey, conducted before the presidential election, found that weak sales are still the No. 1 issue facing small-business owners.

To put it simply, shopping local is a good opportunity for communities to support the establishments that mean so much to our economic well-being.

Small-business owners and their employees know their merchandise and understand their customers. Small-business owners and their employees will do everything they can to keep you satisfied because their livelihoods depend on you coming back.

But beyond all this, there’s the value that small businesses bring to the community. Small businesses are usually owned by people who have a vested interest in the community, in its schools, in the quality of life.

That’s why we urge you to remember to shop at our small, independent businesses, not only during this holiday season but also on other days of the year.

• Rose Treml is executive director of the Sycamore Chamber of Commerce.

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