As CEO of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce, I’d like to take this opportunity to ‘rally the troops’ around our local businesses and services.
An Opinion Column that was in the March 10 edition of The Oakdale Leader dealt with pricing local to keep business local. We at the Chamber work very hard to support local merchants and educate the community on why they should buy and shop locally. I do realize everyone is entitled to their opinion, and we as a Chamber wanted to offer additional reasons for shopping locally.
Merchants have costs and overhead to meet and competitive pricing is not always in comparing large chain store prices to small business merchants. As good bargain shoppers, keep in mind your time and gas to get to stores in other communities.
The opinion piece also commented on sales tax for the City of Oakdale and the example given was for a service that is not taxable. As a rebuttal for this particular example our local pet store has clinics and different low-cost options for pet owners.
I would like to remind the readers of reasons that we need to ‘Buy Local’ because it does matter. If you were to ask any local merchants, from: car dealers to furniture stores to retail shops what this means to them it would be an eye opening experience. A few of those reasons are:
• When we make our purchases in other communities, we help those communities pay for their police officers, firefighters and parks instead of our own!
• Purchases in Oakdale come back in compounding benefits. Those purchases pay for the salary of the store clerk who is likely an Oakdale resident and who in turn spends their hard earned wages in town. Additionally, that shopkeeper will likely spend your money at another local business. That circle of benefit in turn maintains other jobs that generate taxes that help pay for schools, parks, public safety, all of which help make Oakdale a special place to live.
• Not only do small business owners create jobs, these are the people we turn to for donations of special events, school projects, etc. and more than 90 percent of our businesses give back to the community through donations or volunteering.
• Small-business owners are experts about their inventory and focus on giving top-notch service. They make an effort to get to know you and be a friendly resource, often providing unique or hard-to-find items and services, which for the customer is priceless.
I would encourage everyone in the community to at least shop local first. I think you’ll be surprised at the competitive prices in our local stores. At least give our merchants a chance to show you first before you make your buying decisions.
Mary Guardiola is CEO of the Oakdale Chamber of Commerce and contributes to a monthly ‘Chamber Page’ the third week of each month in The Oakdale Leader.