Tom Kern: Why I shop Steamboat |

Tom Kern: Why I shop Steamboat

Tom Kern/For the Steamboat Today

Recently, my wife Rosie and I were shopping for a very important purchase. Our golden retrievers, Molly and Casey, needed a new dog bed, and, as any dog family knows, this is a purchase that can't be taken lightly.

I could have easily purchased the dog bed online from one of the major outdoor or dog retailers and had it shipped to our front door. But for us, it was important to actually check out the product before we bought it to make sure it was the right size, had proper sturdy construction and was machine washable.

We went to one of our local pet retailers and found exactly what we were looking for at a price that was comparable to the online store. In addition, we had the opportunity to talk with the store owner to make sure the bed we were buying would meet our dogs' specific needs. The benefit of that trip is that we now have a dog bed that our dogs actually use and is easy to maintain.

Molly and Casey love their new bed — they sleep on it every night. And most importantly, it's nearly indestructible. Not only did we get a quality product for the price we paid, our dollars were extended even further by spending them locally.

When you shop Steamboat, your dollars stay local, too.

For every $1 spent at a locally owned business, it is estimated that 45 cents is reinvested in the local economy. When you shop online, that number is zero.

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The products you want can often be found locally. You may have to look around a bit: Step into a few stores and talk to your fellow community members who make up the helpful and friendly business community. You'll get hands-on, tailored service, and your purchase will help pay for the wages of those workers. Their wages, in turn, get circulated right back into the local economy when they go out to dinner or on a shopping spree of their own.

Spending locally also provides sales tax revenue to our community. Sales tax is important — it provides revenue for local government and schools to help offer the services and programs we need to maintain the excellent quality of life we enjoy here in the Yampa Valley.

When you shop local, you're supporting local business, local people and the local experience.

I encourage you to visit to join the hundreds of Steamboaters who have taken the pledge to buy local this holiday season and beyond.

Tom Kern is the chief executive officer for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association.

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