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Since moving to this area I’ve had a personal interest in seeing the region grow economically; after all, this is my home now! My personal commitment to growing the Harrisburg area is to invest my dollars locally as much as possible. I understand that may not always make sense, as some purchases are dependent upon convenience or price. Sometimes it’s also difficult to find the product or service you need locally.

My motto? Whenever possible, make your purchases local. That being said, start with the low hanging fruit (pun intended). The easiest products to shop locally for are fruits, vegetables, meats and milk. These items are as close as your nearest farm which in Central PA is usually just down the road. The next way to shop locally in the Harrisburg area is at restaurants. Next time you’re contemplating dining out, think to yourself, “is Applebees really deserving of my money?” Afterall, the company is headquartered in Kansas City, MO, and you know their food isn’t even good! Instead, look around and find a local substitute. The Central Pennsylvania area has an abundance of local ethnic restaurants, American restaurants, and standard diners by the dozens. These restaurants are owned by people who live and work here, who invest money locally and know their communities.

The importance of retaining dollars in your local economy cannot be overstated. According to StayLocal.org, “Your dollars spent in locally-owned businesses have three times the impact on your community as dollars spent at national chains.” Yikes!

There are lots of statistics and studies that back up the importance of shopping locally. One of my biggest arguments is that chain stores are just boring. It’s a simple argument but it’s also true! Have you ever been to a brand new town that has only chain stores with nothing unique about them? How did that experience compare with going to an old city somewhere that has a countless number of those amazing hole in the wall places only locals can tell you about? The experience you had was surely better there for obvious reasons!

In my humble opinion, the Harrisburg region has a long, long way to go in so many ways. That being said, I’m doing my small part to make this place better by buying locally. I hope you will too!

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