Think Local First

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On Hand Development visited the Miller Elementary School a couple weeks ago to present to the students when you shop and support local, that money stays in our community. We then challenged them to write or draw what shopping local means to them. We were blown away the responses. These kids nailed it! They understand the importance of supporting local and they practice it. Now, I need our adults in the community to remember to think local first and practice it.

Each one of us has a duty to our community, to help create and sustain a vibrant place to live, work, and play. We can create thriving communities through even the smallest of everyday decisions — especially when it comes to the businesses we support. With a simple commitment to always think local first, we can create a wide ripple of impact.

When our local businesses are alive and doing well, our community will THRIVE. I understand not everything can be bought locally, but it may surprise you how much actually can be, and how willing our local businesses are to get you what you need. If you make the decision to think local first, you might be surprised in what you find.

I can tell you what you won’t be surprised to find. The best customer service.  How many times have you walked into a business in Hand County and they went above and beyond to make sure that you got what you needed? They asked about your family, your work, or maybe even your health. They care about you and that’s why they give you best the customer service. I guarantee you don’t get that kind of service or care online or at Walmart.

I know someone who heads out of town every weekend for all of their shopping. After their shopping, they fill up with gas, hit up a restaurant and head back home. The shopping trip takes them a good four to five hours and they tell me that they save money by going out of town. I don’t buy that at all. Especially because they work in town. If they lose their job because everyone shops out of town and we lose the business that they work at, they will be losing more than just gas money.

I am not shaming them or anyone else for not buying local, but I truly believe that you could save time and money if you think local first. Not to mention you will feel good about where you are spending your money. That decision to not even think about our local economy is devastating to our entire community. So many rural South Dakota towns have disappeared because people headed out of town every weekend. I know this person doesn’t want to see our community disappear. They live here, work here, and play here. I believe they haven’t even thought about the impact they have on our entire community. I also believe that they aren’t thinking local first before they get in their car and make that drive.

My challenge to our ENTIRE community is to think local first for all of your shopping! When buying goods or services, make sure to stop and think, “Can I get this right here in my community?” This isn’t about shaming you when you do buy something out of town. This is about a movement of thinking differently about our THRIVING rural community. So next time you need something that you usually buy out of town, think about where or how you could get it locally? Pick up your phone and call a Hand County business and see if they can get it for you or better yet… stop in their store. My guess is if they can’t, they will send you somewhere else in town where you can.

The decision to think local first really does make a long-term difference, especially in small, rural communities, like Hand County. Let’s all make a pact. We will all think local first for our shopping and make sure our community doesn’t disappear.   

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