To grow our local economy, it’s important to attract new investments from outside the community.

But it’s equally important to minimize spending that flows out of our area whenever possible. The more resources that stay and recirculate in our community, the better off everyone will be in the region.

For example, every time you buy something online from that large online retailer named after a South American river, a certain Seattle billionaire laughs and makes another bank deposit.  You get what you purchased sent to you, often the next day – but the money you spent is gone from Southern Maine, never to return.

Instead, what if you sought out a local company to provide the items you typically buy from out-of-state online retailers or businesses?

Chances are you won’t spend that much more if at all when you factor in wait times and shipping costs – and in the process you’ll develop a valued local supplier for that item, for years to come if it’s a recurring need. A local partner that will go the extra mile for you when needed, as opposed to a faceless website or distant supplier that doesn’t know you at all.

The beauty of buying locally is the multiplier effect.  When the local business that sells you a product in turn buys what they need from another local business, that money continues to circulate and create additional demand locally.  And so on. The more we all buy what we need from each other in the region, the more sales activity is generated in our community, spurring increased employment and investment opportunities.

So ask yourself – or your purchasing team if you work at or own a local business: are there products or services you buy from afar that you could transition to a local supplier?

If so, give a fellow member of your community a shot at your business. If you need help identifying relevant suppliers, give us a call at the Biddeford & Saco Chamber of Commerce & Industry for recommendations. Spending locally is a great way to give back to the local community by helping to grow the regional economy.

Now that November has arrived, businesses have turned their full attention to the holiday season, which for most retailers and many other establishments is a critical make-or-break period. This year, think about making more of your gift purchases in stores in the greater Biddeford & Saco area.

The Chamber is a proponent and advocate of the Small Business Saturday effort to get people to shop at nearby stores after Thanksgiving – stores where your neighbors and friends are working hard in our community to offer outstanding goods and service for all of us.

Jim LaBelle is the Executive Director of the Biddeford & Saco Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

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