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Paying a little extra

On Tuesday, Minden Mayor Terry Gardner put forth a Facebook live video explaining the City’s sales tax situation and the Shop Minden First initiative.

Essentially, the City will be highlighting local businesses each day during the month of May via its Facebook page, City of Minden – Making It Work. In addition, there are contests and awareness raising campaigns, including the use of the hashtag #ShopMindenFirst and vehicle plates containing the slogan.

These are all good initiatives. However, changing people’s habits is difficult. Many people often search for the best deal online and save a few pennies here and there as opposed to buying from a local merchant. Some even go as far as looking at a physical item in a local store, only to go home and find it online.

Those who engage in these practices are doing their community, and ultimately themselves, a disservice. Let me explain.

As Gardner pointed out, local businesses are the backbone of many community services we all have come to expect. For instance, local businesses are the ones who sponsor little league teams, pay local taxes, donate to worthy local causes, get involved in the betterment of the community, the list could go on and on. Aren’t those things worth paying “a little extra?”

However, if those somewhat altruistic reasons aren’t enough, here is a more self-serving one.

What if I told you, as a business owner, that buying local is also a form of marketing. Countless times, I’ve made a business decision on a vendor based (in part) on whether or not they do business with my company. They get first shot at the business each and every time.

As I talk to fellow business owners in the community, I have found they do the same thing. Whether it is buying fuel from the local company instead of the national chain, or paying a little more for office supplies to support a supporter, it just feels right to shop locally.

When making a buying decision, think of more than just the expense that is incurred. Think about the valuable marketing and community support that is involved. It does make a difference.

Throughout this month, the Minden Press-Herald will proudly display the Shop Minden First logo on our front page, reminding folks the importance of shopping in town. It is my hope that not only will we stem the tide of dwindling sales tax collections, we will see unprecedented growth in our local retail sector. It’s possible. However, the market has the last say on this. Make the right, and local decision. #ShopMindenFirst

David Specht jr.  is president of Specht Newspapers inc.