This Black Friday weekend, including Cyber Monday, more than 158 million people will be shopping across the United States, according to the National Retail Federation. Which means here in Sumner County, we expect more than 130,000 of our neighbors will be spending money over these four days that has become akin to a national holiday and the unofficial start of the Christmas season.

Lured by retailers offering the promise of once-a-year savings, the average person plans to spend $400 on Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials. If we do the math, that means a whopping $52 Million will be spent by Sumner Countians in these upcoming four days, which, in many cases, is a crucial time-period for retailers.

The question is: Where will you spend it?

With the increasing convenience and savings of online shopping with global giants such as Amazon, no doubt, the attraction is understandable. Whether you make a purchase online, from a national big box retailer, or from a local storefront, a chain reaction starts that grows exponentially.

Imagine the power of that chain reaction when more of it is contained locally. Spending $400 on toys for your children at Amazon does very little to their bottom line. But imagine what those same dollars do when they’re spent here in your own community.

According to studies, the amount you spend locally enters the economy at a power three times as impactful when compared to the money you spend with big chain stores. Yes, those employees live among us. Yes, they pay property taxes and generate sales tax revenues, which provide a welcome boost to our economy.

But a good portion of that revenue goes to corporate headquarters and regional distribution centers far away from here. Cyber Monday’s impact is even greater because the money spent on Cyber Monday would generate 50 times more local economic impact than it will with global online retailers.

Without a doubt, small businesses and their owners are the heartbeat of every community. They are the ones that sponsor your son’s soccer tournament, the ones fighting for improvements at City Hall, the ones you sit next to in church, participate in local events and support you when you need help.

Imagine what the landscape of Hendersonville would look like if it wasn’t seasoned with our beloved local stores and restaurants? Think about the lack of character we would have were it not for these local gems. I wonder whether or not we could carry the sense of pride we have in our community were it not for all of the brave and beautiful business owners who offer such wonderful goods and services to our community. Frankly, it’s what people love about Hendersonville. It’s what draws people here.

So, if you want to see our community continue to thrive, support our local retailers. If you take pride in the character of our town, spend your hard-earned money here. Even if it costs just a little bit more, to our beloved community, it’s worth it.

Kathleen Hawkins is the CEO of the Hendersonville Area Chamber of Commerce.

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