Check your shopping list locally

With many folks around the Kenai Peninsula now making their Christmas lists, now is a good time for a reminder that while checking them twice, try checking out all that our local businesses have to offer.

Indeed, when money is spent locally, it becomes an investment that pays dividends throughout the local economy. Michelle Glaves, executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, said that according to recent numbers she’s seen, a dollar spent at a local business will cycle through the local economy as many as seven times.

On the other hand, dollars spent elsewhere or online leave the community.

“When you spend local, it comes back local,” said Johna Beech, president and chief operating officer at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce. “It becomes self-sustaining.”

Glaves noted that area businesses are usually the first places people go when looking for support for community projects and events, high school sports teams, and all sorts of other local organizations — you name it, there’s usually a local business providing some sort of sponsorship. Glaves encouraged shoppers to support those businesses in return. As part of the Soldotna Chamber’s “Buy Local” campaign, Glaves said area residents are being challenged to visit at least one local business they either haven’t visited before, or haven’t visited in the past year.

In years past, one of the knocks on shopping locally is that some products just haven’t been available in this area. While that may be the case for a few specialty items, by and large, shoppers can find just about everything on their list at a local merchant. For more unique gifts, visit the many craft fairs and bazaars taking place over the next month — spending money with local artisans counts as buying local, too.

And if there’s still some thing on your list you just can’t find, Glaves recommends contacting the Soldotna or Kenai chambers of commerce. There just may be a merchant in the area that has that item, and chamber staff are happy to connect shoppers with businesses.

So, enjoy the thrill of the holiday shopping season, but remember, as you go through your list, spending your money locally is a gift that keeps on giving.

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