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Now more than ever ... shop locally
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As the Christmas shopping season approaches, we should all be reminded of just how important shopping at home really is. Studies show that money spent at independently owned local businesses stays in a community, multiplying as it circulates.

By supporting local businesses, we are actively reinvesting in our community, enriching the local economy, increasing the diversity of available products and services, and improving the quality of life for everyone in Kershaw County. Dollars spent in locally owned businesses have three times the impact on the community, simultaneously creating and maintaining jobs, funding more city and county services, reducing our property taxes through our local option sales tax, and promoting community development and neighborhood improvement.

With the economy in the state that it is in, every customer, if at all possible, needs to shop locally. This will also encourage new businesses to locate here because they know the community will support them. When local businesses close their doors, consumers are left with fewer choices of where to take their money.

Reports say consumers are being more careful with their money, either shopping for the best deals or not shopping at all. Today, it’s an understandable trend. But in the haste to look for the lowest price, buyers sometimes forget the long-term ramifications of where they take their business by shopping online or far away from our local community.

Many online retailers aren’t obligated to charge sales tax, which means that online sales can hurt the local tax base. There are certainly local businesses that have online components, and their sales do contribute positively to our economy because those businesses pay property tax and employ our residents.  All of our local businesses are appreciated and we need them to thrive, which is why we should encourage people to spend money with local businesses.

By purchasing goods and services physically in your hometown you know you are contributing taxes to the community and bolstering the bottom line of local shops so that they can remain in business.

Many people complain about taxes, but that money really does go somewhere and really does pay for something. Shop in our own community and the money will stay at home in our cities, county and state. Taxes pay for city and county roads, police and fire departments, and other important services.

So if you’re going to buy something, do your homework and shop for the best deal. But remember that the best deal might be the one that keeps our community’s economy strong.

Local, independent businesses are located all over Kershaw County. You can grab an espresso to go, pick up locally grown produce or freshly baked bread, shop for unique gifts or household items, or choose a good book for a day at the lake. You can get your hair cut, have your taxes prepared, or splurge for a massage. 

These businesses add to the character that is Kershaw County, contributing more than just goods and services. They offer personalized attention, add diversity to our shopping options, and bring life to our historic buildings. And they pay their employees -- and local taxes -- with the income they receive. Each time you choose to spend your dollars at a local, independent business, you are voting for the continued strength and vitality of our community and our quality of life.

Johnny Deal is a lifelong resident of Kershaw County, is active in community affairs and is a past president of the Kershaw County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center.