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Gray: Local small businesses vital to Woodstock economy

Published: Saturday, Aug. 16, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

One constant message about the economic recovery has been the importance of small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Homegrown businesses not only create new jobs, they contribute significantly to the local landscape. They play a unique role that enhances their community’s quality of life.  

There are more than 20 million small businesses in the United States, and the majority of today’s workers probably started their careers working for a small business. Small businesses can spark innovation while providing opportunities for many people, including women and minorities, to achieve financial success and independence.

The Small Business Association recently announced the Top 10 Reasons to Love U.S. Small Business. Those reasons were significant. For example, small businesses make up more than 99.7 percent of all employers; home-based businesses account for 53 percent of all small businesses. Small businesses create 75 percent of the net new jobs in our economy. Those are staggering percentages.

Woodstock is fortunate to be home to many diverse businesses that make up the economic landscape. There is a significant amount of industrial employers housed in Woodstock, which helps considerably with the vitality of the local economy.  

To complement this is the large number of entrepreneurial business owners that completes the uniqueness of Woodstock. Don’t under-estimate the significance of supporting your local commerce. 

Homegrown businesses are the catalyst for pushing the dollar through their community’s economy, and this has a multiplier effect on the local economy. Dollars spent at a local restaurant become income for that owner, who then pays the server. The server buys groceries at the local store, which then becomes income for someone stocking the shelves. Over time, spending locally can have a much larger impact on our local economy because of this economic multiplier.

An article by Jeff Milchen titled “The Multiplier Effect of Local Independent Business Ownership” published by the American Independent Business Alliance says this multiplier effect can have a larger impact with a culture of spending at local small businesses.

The local business owner tends to recirculate much more of his dollars locally, and in one study this multiplier was three times the benefit of a large nationally owned competitor.

As a member of your community, your local support is vital to the overall economic health of your hometown.  

• Shari Gray is executive director of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce. Reach the chamber at chamber@woodstockilchamber.com or 815-338-2436.

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