Our View: Shop locally this holiday season


The National Retail Foundation predicts the average American shopper will spend $737.95 this Christmas, which translates to total forecasted holiday sales of $602.1 billion nationwide during the 2013 holiday shopping season. Keeping those staggering totals in mind, the Steamboat Pilot & Today encourages area residents to consider spending those dollars locally rather than shopping online or traveling to the malls and big-box stores in Denver.

Steamboat Today editorial board — June to December 2013

  • Suzanne Schlicht, COO and publisher
  • Lisa Schlichtman, editor
  • Tom Ross, reporter
  • David Baldinger Jr., community representative
  • Lisa Brown, community representative

Contact the editorial board at 970-871-4221 or editor@SteamboatToday.com. Would you like to be a member of the board? Fill out a letter of interest now.

Many communities across the country, including Steamboat Springs, have launched “shop local” campaigns in advance of the Black Friday kickoff to holiday shopping.

These efforts are aimed at reminding shoppers of the positive economic, community and environmental impacts they can have if they choose to fill their holiday wish lists with purchases from neighborhood businesses.

Why shop local?

The reasons are compelling.

Instead of sending your shopping dollars out of town, keep your hard-earned bucks right here in Routt County. Dollars spent locally support businesses that are owned and operated by people who live here and have made an investment in the Steamboat Springs community. These businesses support local schools, organizations and charities through generous giving and volunteer support.

When people buy locally, they trigger what has been termed the “local economic multiplier effect.” Multiple studies, conducted by groups across the U.S., have verified this effect, and according to organizations like the American Independent Business Alliance, study results show local independent businesses spend business revenue within the region where they are located. In other words, local businesses tend to purchase goods and services from other locally owned businesses, which keeps money circulating closer to home.

More specifically, it is estimated that for every $1 spent at a locally-owned business, 45 cents is reinvested locally, which produces big dividends for the local economy not to mention increases in local sales tax revenue, which supports vital community services and infrastructure. By contrast, only 15 cents of every $1 spent at a corporate chain store is reinvested in the local economy.

Shopping locally also ensures that the retail segment of the local economy remains strong and downtown shopping districts stay vibrant. The wide variety of shops and restaurants along Lincoln Avenue, Oak and Yampa streets, along U.S. Highway 40 and at the base of the ski mountain play an important role in attracting visitors to Steamboat, which again bolsters the local business climate.

This variety also ensures that local shoppers will be able to secure those perfect one-of-a-kind gifts that can’t be found at a big-city mall or shopping center. And the customer service offered at local businesses is better and more personalized, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

Local businesses also are local job producers, and by supporting these local retailers, the community is promoting job growth. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses provide 55 percent of all jobs nationwide and 66 percent of all net new jobs. And on an interesting side note, the American small business sector occupies 30 to 50 percent of all commercial space in the U.S.

From an environmental aspect, shopping local also makes sense. When you shop close to home, you are reducing transportation, which in turn minimizes fuel usage and reduces carbon dioxide production.

The positive benefits of shopping locally are far-reaching, and as you start making those holiday gift lists, we again encourage you to research your shopping options and choose to fill those lists with local goods, products and services purchased from locally owned businesses. To help you cement those good intentions, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association have joined forces to promote local holiday shopping through the “I Shop Steamboat!” campaign. You can take the pledge today at www.ishopsteamboat.com.


Stuart Orzach 3 years, 5 months ago

I urge the Chamber-Resort-Media Complex to work as hard on promoting local hiring as they do to promote local shopping. What I see, instead, is employers going to the ends of the Earth, and employing all means possible to suppress local wages.


Kevin Chapman 3 years, 5 months ago

Steamboat....home of the 12 dollar cheeseburger. I buy local when i can but not to my own economic detriment. Buy tires here at inflated prices (waka waka) or buy in Denver? Buy goods from Home Depot in Avon or get over charged at Ace? classic match up here in steamboat correct?


Scott Wedel 3 years, 5 months ago

It is more effective to buy local when much of the cost is in local labor. Much less money stays in the local economy when buying a mass produced product at large commercial retailers.

It is certainly possible to benefit the local economy more by saving money by purchasing a computer or other low margin item online and using the savings to take the family out to a local dinner.

As for local pricing, much at Alpine Lumber is priced comparable to Home Depot.


john bailey 3 years, 5 months ago

don't forget Steamboat Lumber , I always go there first.


rhys jones 3 years, 5 months ago

There are empty stores and commercial space all over town, yet the throngs flock to Walmart, where their money is sent to China and converted to yuans, to pay the slave labor who produced that defective crap, boxed it up, and shipped it over here. I REALLY hate it when I'm roped into going to that store, because what I seek is otherwise unavailable locally, and I want to see it first. Electronics, for example -- Walmart put Radio Shack out of business here, one of my favorite stores, and many others who could no longer compete, not hindered by high rent too. I try to stay out of that store as much as possible; this box at my fingertips can at least match them. It's really alarming, how much stuff is made in China, if you take the trouble to look. All over the Far East. I try to buy American, even if it costs a bit more -- quality is worth the price.


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