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Dear Santa, Please Shop Local!

A local booster group for small businesses is encouraging everyone – did you hear that, Santa? – to shop local when buying Christmas gifts. Here's why she says it's important.

When you spend money at locally owned stores that money – or 70 cents on a dollar – stays in that community. The amount is far less, when the dollar is spent at a big chain store, or only 40 centrs.

Founder of LocalShops1, Ester Venouziou, shared her top five reasons for shopping local. Venouziou says she knows the pressure is great to get shopping done, but it makes sense for folks – even the jolly old elf himself – to buy gifts at local stores!

1. Preserve our community's character. Imagine if all of a sudden you looked around and all you saw were Big Box stores? Local shops also offer more of a custom selection, geared for the local market and our particular needs and interests.

2. Help local charities, local schools and local programs. Studies show that on average, local businesses give three times as much as the large chains.

3. Keep money local. Of every dollar spent locally, about 70 cents stays local. Of every dollar spent at a national franchise or corporation, less than 40 cents stays local.

4. Help cut down the unemployment rate. It's a fact: Small businesses provide more jobs. The Big Box store might come in with a splash and many instant (low-paying) jobs, but its long-term impact hurts the community.  A town with many small, local businesses employs more people than a town with a Big Box store.

5. Ensure better quality, lower prices.  It's all about healthy competition. Having thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

Need more reasons? Check out this powerful video. You won't show the same way again.

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