Another benefit to shopping locally

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shop local. This phrase, once merely a plea from mom-and-pop stores feeling the squeeze from national retailers, has become somewhat of a mantra for the American consumer.

It has been applied to just about every sector of business and retail, finding its way into shopping carts from electronics stores to supermarkets. It has been transformed to include local hiring practices and eating food that comes from within a certain radius of one’s home. Its scope has expanded beyond the small boutique to include bigger chains.

This is because the value of shopping local on all levels has become readily apparent. Eating local food not only supports area farmers but also reduces the amount of pollution created by transporting food to grocery stores. Similarly buying locally-made goods can boost the economy at the ground level by putting dollars in the pockets of local artisans and merchants as well as reducing the amount of gas used for travel to and from the stores. But it can also help in a more indirect way because it ensures more tax dollars stay in the local area.

According to St. John the Baptist Parish President Natalie Robottom, 68 percent of the money spent at local retailers stays in the parish. On the other hand, none of the money spent online contributes to the local economy.

That is why this holiday season the St. John Parish Department of Economic Development is teaming with L’Observateur and other local businesses to promote shopping local. Starting today, residents can find both in their mailboxes and in local businesses, including L’Observateur’s office and the office of the River Region Chamber of Commerce, entry forms for a contest testing knowledge of local businesses and encouraging local spending.

Just pick up one of the entry forms, answer the 10 multiple-choice questions and fill out the rest of the entry form and drop the form off at either the P.D. Hebert building in LaPlace or at the courthouse in Edgard between now and Dec. 26 to be entered to win an assortment of prizes and gift cards from local businesses. Entries may also be mailed.

Winners will be drawn on Dec. 27.

So avoid the headaches of shopping at larger malls and keep your dollars local this holiday season. It can really pay off.