Shop local this season

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This holiday season, will you be among 83 percent of consumers who plan to do some portion of their holiday shopping at a small, independently owned retailer or restaurant?

These types of businesses are what keep our small communities thriving. Up and down rural main streets, shopkeepers are readying their stores for the season. They welcome shoppers from their communities and those who are just visiting. Business owners are even stocking rolls of wrapping paper to provide added value when you spend your money with a local retailer.

In support, shop local events are popping up across America. One such celebration in Fremont, Nebraska, is planned hour-by-hour and block-by-block. Participating store owners are giving away treats, cider and cocoa; hosting live music; and holding drawings. The event was held on Nov. 24, which is Small Business Saturday, a holiday that began nine years ago promoting #ShopSmall.

Small Business Saturday has a positive impact on communities, according to 97 percent of consumers who plan to shop small on that day, found in a report by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

That proves main street businesses are an important part of our life in rural America. I am part of the nine in 10, or 91 percent, of consumers who believe itís more important than ever to support small businesses this holiday season. Are you?

During this holiday season, and year round, #ShopSmall. Support your community, your friends, and your way of life. When local businesses succeed, we all win.

Rhea Landholm is the Brand Marketing & Communications Manager for Center for Rural Affairs. Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, nonprofit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.

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