For Ryan Dietiker, shopping local is a matter of pride. As the owner of Sterling Heights' barbershop Forefathers Grooming, he knows how much small businesses rely on the city around them, and how important it is to "pay it forward".
"We carry a bunch of Michigan-made brands," Dietiker says. "We pride ourselves on shopping local and supporting our community."
This holiday season, Dietiker's barbershop on Van Dyke Ave will be one of the businesses participating in a Macomb County campaign to encourage local spending. With approximately 1,600 independently-owned retailers in the area, the Macomb County Department of Planning and Economic Development (MCPED) is partnering with First State Bank and the Sterling Heights Regional and Macomb County chambers to run the second year of the campaign.
Businesses in Macomb County will submit their Shop Local deals and other holiday discounts to a digital portal and participating shoppers are encouraged to submit photos of themselves visiting local stores to win gift cards.
Retailers play an integral part of building vibrant cities and towns by attracting visitors and new residents, says director of MCPED John Paul Rea.
“Which means that spending money at these businesses during the holiday season has an impact far beyond sales figures,” Rea says.
Shop Local Macomb and its corresponding social media competition will officially launch on November 23 and businesses that participated last year say the initiative helped drive up sales.
“We heard from many businesses after the Shop Local Saturday event last year, and those that had the extra promotion through our outlets experienced a greater number of shoppers than they had in years prior,” says Melanie Davis, president of the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce.
According to the American Independent Business Alliance, benefits to shopping locally don't just stop with holiday purchases. Owners of small businesses are more than twice as likely to donate to local causes and organizations and are three times more likely to buy needed supplies from other local retailers. The organization also says small businesses can help to define communities, which fits well with Sterling Heights' recent focus on identity and place-making.
For retailers like Dietiker the impact on the ground is tangible.
"In order to see our small companies grow we need people to shop local and pride themselves on supporting our community," Dietiker says.
"All of our community member need to have a vested interest in our city’s progress and success."