The families living on nearly 30,000 South Dakota farms certainly understand the value of a healthy local and state economy, even more so during the pandemic challenges we’ve faced this past year.
Each of us plays a necessary role in preserving our local economy. Where we shop is a choice to invest in what makes our state a great place to live. Every dollar spent at local businesses matters because it truly adds up in order to sustain our communities.
We often talk about sustainability as it relates to the soil and the future of farming, and the “sustainable” term is also essential to the health of our local homegrown economies.
From our executive board to our farmer members at South Dakota Corn, we encourage everyone to support local, independent, hometown and rural businesses in communities across our state.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy, South Dakota has more than 88,000 small businesses, which serve as the heart and soul of most of our communities.
Supporting a healthy homegrown South Dakota starts with sales, although it can also include referrals and recommendations, as well as social media likes and shares.
While it’s easy to get a feel-good vibe by shopping locally for the holidays, be sure to extend your local love throughout next year as well.
Support Local for Local Support
Main Street businesses often have mom-and-pop owners who live down the road from us and even employ our fellow neighbors and teenagers. What’s more, you’ll likely get a better customer service experience from people who know you or know you both live in the same community.
With 98% of all farms owned by families, South Dakota farmers are small businesses too. That’s why farmers understand how important it is to cultivate personal and professional relationships while operating a business.
In addition to enjoying meals at the restaurants in town, farmers also shop locally by choosing area vendors for equipment sales and service, seed, fertilizer, crop protection, animal health, feed, and insurance coverage.
According to the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA), the local multiplier effect means that independent businesses create jobs and local wealth through direct, indirect and induced impacts. The money these locally owned businesses earn is typically invested back into your town and community, further supporting the economy.
In several studies by Civic Economies, results on average found that 48% of each purchase with an independent business is circulated back into the local economy, compared to less than 14% of purchases from chain stores. So on average, out of a $100 bill, $48 spent at a local independent business stays in town — vs only $14 at a chain retailer.
Dollars that are recirculated as secondary local spending will multiply the amount of sales tax revenue generated, which further benefits community development, schools and local services.
Did you know? South Dakota agriculture contributes $500 million per year in tax revenue at the state and local level. [SOURCE: 2019 South Dakota Agriculture Economic Contribution Study, July 2019]
Beyond the Basic Benefits
Buying local makes clear financial sense, but it also benefits our environment by reducing the processing of goods, packaging and transportation waste, plus lowering pollution.
Local business owners are more likely to make community-minded decisions and serve as members of chamber, civic, church and school boards. Small businesses create a unique local draw that can attract tourists as well.
According to a survey shared by SCORE.org, independent businesses also support fundraisers on a local level far more than national chains. Small businesses donate 250% more money to local nonprofits and community causes than their larger chain competitors.
Hometown Support for Homegrown Business
While online shopping from your couch may be more convenient, many mom-and-pops have had to pivot this year to offer alternative ways to serve customers.
These solutions include greater flexibility for safer shopping in person with extended hours, appointment-only sessions, more online options, phone orders and curbside pickup. In many cases, you can also buy gift certificates or gift cards for future dining, shopping, services or experiences.
“Local shops across South Dakota have enhanced their online presence this year, including purchasing options on their websites and sharing their inventory on social media,” said South Dakota Retail Association executive director Nathan Sanderson. “We encourage shoppers who would prefer to stay home to consider looking online within their community first.”
As you finish shopping for holiday gifts, be sure to stop by a storefront in your community or a neighboring one to find last-minute gifts from tools to toys, food to frames and gadgets to gift certificates.
While so much of what’s going on in the world and even our country seems out of our control, we do have the opportunity to make an impact right here in our state of South Dakota, and in the very communities where we choose to live.
Hometown support for homegrown business can make a difference to small business survival. And that’s good for all of us in South Dakota!