Jerry Schalow, Rio Rancho Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO

What happens if everyone in Rio Rancho, Corrales, Bernalillo, Placitas and Albuquerque makes it a point to make every day Small Business Saturday and buys locally?

We all win!

When New Mexicans shop at a locally owned business, they are supporting New Mexico’s largest employers. Small businesses employ over 50 percent of New Mexico’s workforce.

This means we all know someone working for a local business. Buying locally means employment levels are more stable, and they develop the local workforce by creating more opportunities for local residents to work in the community.

These businesses support our community and make us less dependent on imports, while also reducing the amount of New Mexico dollars leaving the state. Buying locally allows those dollars to be re-spent in the community when wages and expenses are paid out, which creates local economic activity and thus expands the local tax base.

Rio Rancho and surrounding communities benefit from having our own unique businesses – where we shop, eat and play.

The Rio Rancho Regional Chamber hosts Holiday Market events where unique items are made by local vendors. These events provide an opportunity to buy New Mexico-made gifts.

The chamber of commerce has our “Buy Local” program, which provides coupons on our website to promote shopping at area businesses. The chamber’s efforts are to connect consumers with our local independently owned businesses and remind everyone of the importance of spending money locally.

How does shopping local impact our community?

* Revenue: Locally owned businesses return a much larger portion of their revenue, up to 70 percent, back into the local economy.

* Community: Local businesses are invested in the community as they support youth programs and athletics. A great example is the support displayed at the 6A champion Cleveland High football stadium.

* Employment: Local businesses vary widely as they employ contractors, mechanics, accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, cooks, attorneys, service staff, sign makers, marketing agencies and so many more.

* Locally produced goods: Local retailers, restaurants and distributors carry a larger selection of locally produced goods, creating additional markets and jobs for local producers and more dollars kept in the community.