Shopping Local for the Economy this Holiday Season

Last month we had the pleasure of co-hosting the 2011 Business Outlook Panel and Lunch, a presentation forecasting the economy in the upcoming year by a panel from the Indiana University The Kelley School of Business. Their forecast was, for the most part, “optimistically pessimistic.” Though my take on our local economy is more along the lines of “cautiously optimistic,” their outlook prompted me to think about our economy, and what, if anything, we can do to stimulate growth. I quickly realized, the holidays are coming up, which presents an excellent opportunity for the local economy to get jump started.

Our area businesses are geared up and ready for the holiday-buying season. Inventory stands ready, as do expectations. Nationally, the buzzwords around this year’s buying season include “lackluster” and “muted”. Such rhetoric does nothing to build consumers’ confidence nor does it encourage shoppers to venture out within their communities to celebrate all their hometowns offer.   Such rhetoric doesn’t help to get the economy rolling.  So while we may not be able to make a major difference in the economy nationally, we all play a role in shaping our local economy by the decisions we make as to where to make our holiday purchases. I challenge you to take an active role by consciously making the decision to stay IN Bloomington and buy local this holiday season.

By making a conscious decision to choose to spend dollars in Bloomington, rather than heading to Indianapolis or shopping on the Internet, you are helping to ensure the quality of life we have all come to enjoy here. Especially in a weak economy, it becomes more vital to do our selective shopping in the local places we love.  And the wonderful thing about this decision is that it’s not a compromise! Bloomington boasts a diverse shopping experience for all. There is something for everyone and, therefore, keeping shopping dollars local does not result in any compromise in the quality or uniqueness of the purchase. The intended recipient will be thrilled with the gift – and you have made the conscious decision to positively shape our local business landscape. Chamber members had a strong history of supporting one another and the local economy. We know this year will be no different.

The impact our individual shopping decisions have also affect whether the businesses based here in Bloomington survive or become part of a grim statistic. Stay IN Bloomington this holiday season when you shop or eat out – and continue to make that decision throughout 2011. By doing so, we build better business and better community for all!

Visit the Chamber’s website for a directory of local businesses and coupons available to members and the public. Look for a post containing local specials for “Black Friday,” “Small Business Saturday,” and “Cyber Monday” tomorrow, November 24.