Live here, buy here

Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 1:00 am

Burlington County Times Editorial

The county economy is in need of a little retail therapy.

With the popularity of smartphones, most of us can shop anywhere at anytime we like. And there are so many brick-and-mortar retail options available to county residents — the shopping districts of Philadelphia, Cherry Hill and Princeton are just minutes away by car — we often bypass local businesses.

In many cases, we’re not only missing out on quality goods and stellar customer service by choosing to shop outside the county, but we’re also missing out on a more vibrant economy.

Even a small change in your shopping habits will make a big difference. If each of Burlington County’s 180,000 households spent $20 more a month in the county, more than $40 million would be injected into the local economy, according to county officials.

The Burlington County Board of Freeholders and its partners, the Burlington County Chamber of Commerce and the Burlington County Bridge Commission, plan to promote local businesses and encourage residents to spend their money close to home with “Shop Burlington County First.”

We support the plan.

A number of municipalities have successfully promoted their own “Main Streets,” but others don’t have an easily identifiable downtown shopping area or just need more help.

We believe “Shop Burlington County First” will serve as icing on the cake for locales that have their own promotional plans, and will be a boon to those that have struggled.

The county plan, patterned after the successful efforts of a number of municipalities, will not only shore up downtowns, but also strengthen the local economy and spur job growth.

It also will wisely focus on partnering with those with boots on the ground — local business organizations, chambers of commerce and economic development committees — in a coordinated marketing and promotional effort that should inspire shoppers and business owners.

The partners in this program recognize, as we all should, that shopping locally goes far beyond helping businesses. When you shop in your town, you become part of a chain reaction that can revitalize an entire region.

Shopping locally fosters employment, and those employees in turn spend in the economy.

Local independent store owners also are more likely to invest in their communities and support charities and schools.

If you choose to shop locally, you’ll travel less and save on fuel. You’ll also help maintain the distinctiveness of your hometown.

Businesses also are more likely to respond to the needs of local customers, offering products to suit the needs of the population. You’ll also be helping to retain valuable community services. As retail shops leave an area, hair salons, banks and restaurants go with them.

So buy local, and support “Shop Burlington County First.”

We believe it will have a positive impact on our communities.