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Finding some gems: Shop local, win local

Local commerce fuels the local community. That is part of the reason I will be encouraging people to participate in Small Business Saturday, which I sometimes call Shop Local Saturday. In case you are unaware of that shopping moniker, it is a day that falls between Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (when we are supposed to do our remaining Christmas shopping online).

The sentiment is that by reserving a day of massive holiday shopping for local stores, the mom-and-pop retailers, we will be keeping some of our spending to benefit local stores and our local community. According to many studies, local stores keep more money locally, provide more local jobs and support more entrepreneurs.
Fortunately, Elkhart still has some traditional, family owned retail outlets. We are proud to feature some of them in this issue of Leading Business. There are many more. Be sure to check out our membership directory at when you are planning your shopping excursions.
But I want to stretch the shop local concept a little further. When you patronize a locally-owned establishment, most of the money stays here. That is very important. But local branches of national chains keep some money in our local community, too.
My wife works for Elkhart Community Schools. When teachers ask her about shopping locally, she advises them to shop where their students’ parents work. That might be Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club (both members of the Chamber) or some other national chain. If these establishments are providing jobs and a tax base for our community, they are worth supporting.
Not all the local shopping should be limited to the holidays, or even to gifts. In your business you buy a variety of materials and equipment. Well, Elkhart Chamber members produce a variety of materials and equipment. Need a lift truck? Talk to Cass Hudson, Crown Lift Trucks, Hull Lift Trucks, and Morrison Industrial Equipment.
Elkhart County is home to many companies that ship products all over the world. Not every community should limit every purchase to a local company, or else we would have nowhere to ship our goods.
But I am encouraging you to shop local first. If you don’t already give a preference to local companies, start this year, this Shop Local Saturday. You will find most of what you need right here for a wonderful holiday season. Then, when you make local shopping a priority for you and your business, you will see a positive impact on your home community.

- Kyle Hannon, Greater Elkhart Chamber President

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