It’s no secret that Santa has Columbus on his “good” list. Our city is home to a wealth of artistic talent and creativity that rivals even the major metropolises, and this season you can find real treasures in our local markets and stores: unique, personal, one-in-a-million gifts are everywhere in Columbus. Not only will the work of local Columbus talent delight your family members, it will benefit our city many times over. Buying gifts from Columbus gives a gift to Columbus, and ultimately, back to ourselves.
The power of buying locally has been thoroughly demonstrated. A 2013 report at ThinkColumbusFirst.org shows that every $100 spent at local independent businesses feeds almost $70 back into the local economy, versus only $48 when shopping at larger chain stores. The positive effects of shopping locally are even more evident when examined per square feet: local shops produce a net annual return of $326 per 1,000 square feet, while big box stores create a net annual deficit of $468 per 1,000 square feet. Shopping local also benefits the environment by saving on shipping costs and encourages local business owners to recycle and reuse local materials, and overall, it generates 3.5 times more wealth locally than shopping at large, multi-national retailers. And it doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference: if every family spent only $10 more a month on local, independent businesses, over 9.3 billion dollars would be returned directly to our local economy, which ultimately helps to boost the national economy.
And giving to Columbus as you give to your family and friends this holiday is so easy. Columbus has over a dozen craft fairs and locally-oriented shops popping up around the city throughout the holiday season. Our city’s local arts community also provides many opportunities to give gifts that last into the New Year when you gift an experience: tickets for local performances next year are available now. Or, you can give a gift that lasts a lifetime with local arts classes in dance, music, glass, painting and metalworking. Maybe a loved friend or family member will discover the artist in themselves, and become part of the Columbus Makers’ community next year.
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