Shopping locally makes good sense

Published 3:58 pm Thursday, August 31, 2023

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Think global, shop local is a phrase we have all heard quite often over the years.

We now live in a world where we can sit at home – in our pajamas if we so choose – and purchase items. Instead of visiting a brick-and-mortar store, we can log on to the Internet and shop for clothes, health and beauty products, all sorts of the latest electronic gadgets, books, movies, pet food, and even medicine.

Among U.S. consumers, the two most popular categories for online purchases are clothing and shoes. 44 percent and 34 percent of consumers respectively chose these answers in an online survey conducted online earlier this year among 5,030 respondents in the United States.

Heck, you can even order food online and have it delivered to your residence while still lounging around in your PJs.

Depending on the dealership, you may be able to buy your car entirely online. If that’s the case, you’ll e-sign the necessary paperwork and either pick up the car or schedule delivery to your home.

I’m sorry…I’ve got to raise the hood, kick the tires, take a test drive, and butt heads with the salesperson if I’m in the market for a new or used vehicle.

Does the average local shopper really stop and think about what shopping locally really means?

When we shop local we invest in our community, in our neighbors, and in ourselves. In this economic climate, we have to do what we can to survive and to thrive. Shopping locally helps us to do that. It keeps more money in our community; creates local jobs; leads to more choices and diversity; improves customer service; and protect the local culture.

Need some more encouragement to consider to shop local?

When you buy from a locally owned business, you are not helping a CEO buy a third vacation home. You are helping a little girl get dance lessons from the locally operated studio. You are helping a little boy or girl get their team jersey in baseball, softball, soccer, basketball, and football. You are helping a local mom or dad put food on the table; helping a family pay their home mortgage, or a student pay for college.

In essence, customers are shareholders of local businesses and they are the ones that the owners strive to make happy!

Shopping locally just makes good sense for our local merchants, and our local economy. One dollar spent locally turns over three times within the local community, making an even greater impact right here at home. The “Small Business Saturday” website quotes a statistic: of every $100 spent at small retailers, $68 of it stays in the community where the purchase was made.

The sales tax paid on local goods and services in our community are put to work immediately, thus helping to make a difference right here at home. Whether it is a trip to the local grocery store or a major purchase, your taxes provide money for local services.

Did you know that a portion of the North Carolina sales tax you pay on your purchases of necessary items are one way that our local counties are able to build their annual operating budgets and provide much-needed services?

North Carolina sales tax is 4.75% plus several “articles” of local taxes that bring the total to 6.75% to 7.5% depending upon location. Here in the Roanoke-Chowan area, the total amount of sales tax levied is 7% in Gates and Northampton counties and 7.25% in Bertie and Hertford counties. Those latter two counties increased their “local option sales tax” by 0.25% in 2020 and 2010 respectively.

Counties generate a portion of their budget revenue from state sales tax. The amount of that tax is determined upon point of sale (where an item is purchased, or in some cases to the address of where items are shipped) and by per capita (based on the county’s population).

The point of sale portion of that equation is critical to the local economy. When you shop with local merchants, that portion of the state sales tax remains within the county where the purchase is made. Thusly, if you opt to shop in Greenville, Rocky Mount, Edenton, or Elizabeth City, you are assisting Pitt, Nash, Chowan, and Pasquotank counties, respectively, with their needs rather than Bertie, Gates, Hertford, and Northampton.

And within the volatile petroleum market – one that can change drastically from one day to the next – you will save hundreds of dollars a year on gas by doing business with local merchants. Shopping locally saves time and money for you and helps support local business in our community.

In turn, those local businesses are able to keep our local friends and neighbors on their respective payrolls.

Additionally, shopping locally supports our school, our parks, recreation centers, libraries, our local police, fire departments, and other things that make this community a great place to work and live. Simply put, it fuels our economy.

We don’t need a worldwide health pandemic to prompt us stay at home to shop. During COVID-19, I hope we learned that we are blessed with an abundance of small, local businesses who all offer the things we need.

Small local businesses are the fundamental to our community. Each small business makes the towns of the Roanoke-Chowan area a special place. They are integral part to the life of a community, dependent on long term personal relationships with customers, staff, and suppliers.

Please keep in mind that you can make a difference each time you reach for your wallet by spending money locally.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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