As Alaskans prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday and the inevitable onslaught of a post-holiday shopping frenzy, it’s time think about what’s being bought and how the local economy can benefit from the national Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping trends.
We know that it can be enticing to spend money on the deeply discounted products offered by in out-of-town stores and online retailers, but given the choice between the purchase of a gift that would ultimately benefit the economy somewhere else and one that would keep a local business owner in business — we encourage shoppers to spend their money in our community.
Your friends and neighbors depend on you to keep them in business. By the same token, your own wallet is affected by the number of businesses paying property and sales taxes, and your quality of life benefits from the services that the borough can offer based on that revenue.
According to the BuyAlaska program, an effort by the University of Alaska Anchorage and the Alaska Small Business Development Center to encourage Alaskans to spend their money in-state, if Alaskans shifted 10 percent of the purchases they made Outside, the state’s economy would be bolstered by more than $1 billion and about 4,400 jobs would be created.
It’s clear that having thriving local businesses creates a stronger Alaska economy and when it comes to holiday shopping, the money spent with those businesses will continue to circulate through the local economy, benefitting not just other businesses, but also the many organizations and charities our local businesses support. Your friends and neighbors have a vested interest in investing in the community and its future.
Aside from the obvious benefits of contributing to the state’s economy, there are thousands of artists and small-business owners in Alaska who are creating one-of-a-kind objects that can only be found in this state.
Rather than spending money on generic gifts that can be found at any department store, why not spend a bit more to buy a handmade hat from a producer in Cooper Landing or a scarf from a Soldotna shop-owner? The businesses opened on the Kenai Peninsula keep our communities unique and provide options for one-of-a-kind gifts.
In addition, buying locally reduces the environmental impact of each purchase and generally means that you’ll be contributing less to a global supply chain that can decimate smaller producers.
While you’re out doing your holiday shopping, we encourage you to find ways to support the local economy and encourage your families to do the same.
We’re all responsible for keeping this community healthy and growing. Making sure local businesses can survive is one way to ensure that we’ll continue to prosper.