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Show your support — shop local

This weekend is a time when many people are shopping for the holidays. Black Friday — Hm-m-m. Not a day for the weak. My husband and I went shopping in Fresno on Black Friday one time, and only one time in our 37 years of marriage. Both of us swore it would be the last time. That was over 20 years ago. We have held fast to that promise.

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I am not discouraging others from shopping on that day of all days to get the best deals of the year. There are some killer deals out there, and if you are not afraid of the possibility of being killed, go for it. In fact, that is a good day to support small and large businesses.

This Saturday is Small Business Saturday here in Madera, and there are some whopping good deals on that day, right here in our little town. Just look at the ads today in The Madera Tribune (which is also a small business). Small businesses need your support. It is essential that you show your support for the local small businesses in your community. If you will look at the economics of the local businesses, you will realize that when you support the businesses that are based in your own community, you help your whole community to thrive and prosper.

Let’s do a little analysis of what I mean. Suppose you are a shopper in Madera. You like to stay in Madera and spend your money in Madera because you know (or have been told) that when you shop in Madera, your money stays there and your community thrives and prospers. So, you go into your favorite store to buy your Christmas presents for friends and family. Where does your money go?

Well, there is a sales tax of 8.25%, and 7.75% in Chowchilla. The state of California takes 6 percent of that tax. (California is going to take that 6% no matter where you shop, even if you shop online when the purchase money goes somewhere outside of California.) The rest of the tax stays in Madera (Chowchilla) and Madera County. This tax supports our county and local governments and city maintenance. Sales tax is collected by the businesses, but must be paid quarterly to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration. The local businesses does not keep any of the sales tax for themselves.

Whatever you purchase from a retail business must be made by someone in the business or purchased from another business. In order for the business owners to continue to operate, they must charge the amount it cost them to obtain the merchandise, plus a markup amount to cover the costs of running a business. These operating costs are big for any company and often make companies struggle financially. However, a company that can maintain the right balance of income and expenses will support the community and other businesses.

Any business must have a license to operate. The cost of the business license depends on the income of the business, and is another expense the business must pay regularly.

Most of the costs of running a business are the same for companies, just different amounts. Some of them are no-brainers, like rent and utilities, phone, purchases of merchandise, insurance, taxes and fees, advertising, and supplies. Other costs are not so obvious to the non-business owner. Payroll can be a huge cost for a company, but this cost means the business is providing jobs for folks. Payroll includes the wages paid to employees, plus their payroll taxes, benefits, workers comp insurance, and any safety and information necessary for the employees. The legal requirements for employing workers are very costly for businesses.

When we go to another city to shop, or shop online, our money goes outside our community. It seems not to matter from an individual level, but when you think about the hundreds, thousands of people who do this consistently, you can see that over time, our community could diminish. The small businesses in our town could be a thing of the past.

Shopping local boosts the economy in our own community. It creates jobs. Small businesses support community groups and they support the character of Madera and Chowchilla. Shopping local increases our tax base so that our government can function at a more efficient level. If we do not support our local community, by shopping local, those businesses will not survive, and at some point we will not have the option to shop locally. Remember your local hardware store, your hairdresser, restaurants, charities, sports groups, schools, and local events.

When we shop local, we support the future of our community.

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“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.”

— Romans 15:2)

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