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LASATA: Shopping local more important than ever

Perhaps more than ever it is important to shop local and support the small and family-owned businesses in our communities. Since March, the economic impact from the governor’s shutdown orders on these job providers has been immense. Too many businesses have closed, and many more jobs have been lost — some for good.

I recently saw an image posted online of a message board outside of a business that put things into context rather well. It asked passersby, “Do you remember all the times you have relied on the financial support of local small businesses for fundraisers and sponsorships? Now it is time for you to return the favor.”

Locally owned small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities, are responsible for a large portion of our state’s jobs and fuel our economic engine. In good times, buying nearby is a feel-good way to support our communities. But now, choosing to shop local could be the difference between a store staying open or closing forever.

If Michigan shoppers switched just 10 percent of their out-of-state purchases to a Michigan retailer, it could boost economic activity by more than a billion dollars, create 10,000 new jobs and add about $350 million in wages.

Local businesses, especially those in the retail industry, operate on razor thin margins. Every time you buy locally instead of from multinational conglomerates, you are helping support fellow Michiganders and the overall economic well-being of our state. And many local businesses offer the same or similar conveniences to the big box stores, including online store fronts and shipping, delivery and curbside pickup options.

Think about that as we head into the Christmas shopping season and consider joining me and my family as we shop local, not only during the holidays, but throughout the entire year.

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