As a board member for the Greensburg/Decatur County Chamber of Commerce, it’s my responsibility to endorse local businesses. As an employee of a local company, it’s my job to emphasize the benefits of shopping local. As a resident of the community, it’s my duty to purchase local.
As a business, being “local” means more than just having a physical location nearby. Being “local” is also about giving you the choice to walk in and have a real-time conversation or pay a bill. It’s about the one-on-one, personal customer service you receive from a hometown retailer. It’s about the representative on the phone who is also your neighbor or relative. It’s the salesperson on the showroom floor who you graduated with. It’s about the store manager who has a son or daughter in class with your own child or grandchild.
Being local is also about giving back. Your local retailers are here and a part of your community. We celebrate, mourn, laugh and enjoy the trials and victories of everyday local life, right along with you. We volunteer at events, contribute to causes, eat at area fundraisers and support our hometown teams because WE are local, too. When the Greensburg Pirates made it to the State Championship, it was the local businesses who displayed their Pirate pride on store windows and signage. When our schools hosted recent after proms, it was area businesses who donated prizes. When organizers look for sponsorships, donations and support, they turn to us local businesses to help ensure their success. In turn, we businesses turn to local citizens to safeguard our existence.
Ever attend a local event and receive a t-shirt in exchange for your participation? Take a look on the back of that shirt. Recognize any of those companies? Consider where those businesses are located. For example, the t-shirt from the 2013 Gilliland-Howe Health and Safety Fair lists businesses like Expression Florist, Gauck Chiropractic, Burkhart Automotive and O’Mara Foods. A recent Bowl For Kids’ Sake t-shirt includes the likes of Dr. Paul Nahmias, Gecom and Best Way. Signage around local school campuses boasts names like Don Meyer Ford and MainSource Bank. If we, as local residents, plan to rely on these businesses for future support of our events, schools and fundraisers, then we, in turn, need to support these businesses.