Local retailers received a show of support last week when Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot visited Cumberland stores and businesses to urge people to shop locally.
“It’s time for people to get off the Internet and get down here and shop,” Franchot said as he made several stops in downtown Cumberland.
Many communities have shop local campaigns in an effort to help hometown businesses and stores. Franchot pointed out that two-thirds of all business is small business and local stores employ “our friends and neighbors.”
About 30 downtown businesses participated in a Small Business Saturday event last month. This was the third year for the event, which is dedicated to supporting small businesses on one of the busiest shopping weekends of the year. The national program, designed by American Express, is dedicated to small businesses throughout the United States.
It is estimated that for every $100 spent at a local business, $68 will stay in the community, according to Downtown Manager Ed Mullaney. Only $43 stays in the community when that same amount is spent at a national chain. If the money is spent out-of-town or via the Internet, nothing stays in the local community.
While local shopping is in the spotlight at Christmas because it is the peak of the retail season, efforts to help local sales occur throughout the year. One of the most successful efforts in Maryland have been the local farmers’ markets. Cumberland and Frostburg have used the markets as a way to lure people into their downtown areas. The Country Club Mall also hosts a weekly farmers’ market in the summer as a convenience to its shoppers.
“It’s the patriotic duty of everyone to shop local,” Franchot said during his visit. While that may bit overstated, the comptroller is right in saying that local communities need to support the local businesses that employ many of our friends and neighbors.