Partnership news and views; Keeping Your Money Local During the Holidays

Christopher Germain

Now that the laser show is back on the lower harbor ore dock (thanks Travel Marquette and Fresh Coast Light Lab!), one can consider the holiday season in full swing. In between all the parties, meetups with friends, and tackling those year-end tasks at work, many of us will try to find time to shop. And when we do that, we’re having a much bigger impact than we may realize.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) is projecting that American households will spend $960.4 billion over the season and that 60% of us have already started browsing and shopping. That’s up at least 6% over 2021. But buried in the flurry of statistics is one that’s a little less jolly: only 24% of shoppers plan to shop at a locally-owned small business.

Back in early August, I talked about the value of small businesses. The definition of small business can vary, but a commonly used metric is a business with fewer than 50 employees. In Marquette County, that means approximately 2,700 businesses, or put another way: 96% of all businesses in the county. And that number is only growing as we continue to see a historic increase in new businesses as our family, friends, and neighbors decide to pursue their dreams or decide that they want a lifestyle change.

Given the high number of small businesses in our area, we see their impact every day. In fact, on average, $0.68 of every dollar spent at a local small business stays in the immediate area; compare that to the average $0.40 when it’s spent at a national chain.

Given the impact of small businesses, the LSCP works to provide valuable services to support our small businesses, from start-up support to affordable marketing opportunities and connections to additional tools from our partner organizations. This includes our own local entrepreneurs who bring national brands to our community.

But there’s always more that we as consumers can do as well. I could write entire columns, but the non-exhaustive list includes: shopping local – including checking out their ecommerce options (many of which can go toe-to-toe with national ecommerce operations), buying gift cards directly from businesses, planning your holiday parties at local restaurants or caterers, purchasing Love on Local gift cards (find out more at www.marquette.org/loveonlocal), amplifying local businesses on social media, leaving reviews, and more.

By the time you read this column, the biggest Small Business Saturday of the year will be behind us, but there are 364 other days of the year where it’s a great idea to shop small. But another unofficial holiday will be upon us soon: Giving Tuesday. The Marquette area’s quality of life depends on the work of so many nonprofit organizations and we encourage you to invest in those local organizations on Tuesday (or any day). If economic development happens to be a priority for you, consider the LSCP Foundation (www.lscpfoundation.org). But any of the hundreds of local organizations would be an impactful investment.

Finally, as always, the LSCP is here to help. If there’s ever anything we can do to support your business or organization, please reach out to me or any of our team members. We love making an impact every day and look forward to celebrating the holidays with our friends, families, and partners throughout December.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Christopher Germain is the Lake Superior Community Partnership’s CEO.


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