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The importance of small businesses

We’ve had several grand openings for businesses in our area in recent weeks.

Whether they are clothing boutiques, home furnishing businesses, fitness centers, hair salons or whatever, it is good to see such investments taking place in our communities. Starting a business of any size isn’t an easy process. There are financial needs, finding a good location, hiring reliable staff, dealing with local regulations and more before even being able to open your doors for the first day.

It’s an investment, no matter what you are doing – an investment in yourself, an investment in others and an investment in your community. Businesses bring revenue to the owner, but they also create jobs which then allow others an opportunity to have a reliable stream of money for their own lives and their families.

Whether on our own, or through covering events from local chambers of commerce, we work to inform our readers of what businesses have opened in our tri-county coverage area. A look through our business pages over the last month have shown at least half-a-dozen businesses opening their doors. I’m sure there are many others who haven’t reached out for coverage for one reason or another, but it shows there is growth and opportunity taking place, even if it is not in the large industrial operations we would like to see.

The key is for residents to now show their support.

Whatever you’re looking for, there is probably a business in our immediate area that provides it. We have a multitude of restaurants up and down the Ohio River. There are medical care providers, public transportation groups, furniture stores, home decorating businesses, clothing boutiques, craft stores, gyms and fitness centers, candle shops, bakeries, pastry shops, ice cream shops, book stores, electricians, plumbers, home improvement specialists, florists, jewelers, barbers and stylists, photographers, funeral homes. The list goes on.

Sure, there are going to be some offerings not available close by, but chances are you don’t have to go too far to find what you need. How long will that be true, though, if we don’t patronize those businesses? I’ve seen far too many businesses close up shop over the last 20 years because people decided to go elsewhere.

By shopping locally, we are showing our confidence in the efforts of our family, friends and neighbors who want to find a way to contribute to the future of our hometowns.

From the government side, of course, taxes and fees are collected, which then are used to provide services and to pay municipal employees. So, the more businesses in a community, the more revenue a municipality or town or village government brings in, the better funded services can be or the more employees a government can have to provide those services.

In many ways, then, shopping locally creates a cycle of development and investment. Businesses open, we support them by purchasing their goods or services, they are able to grow and hire more people. That provides more revenue to the government, which is able to better provide its own services. Others see this growth and are willing to invest through their own businesses, providing more opportunities for jobs, growth and investment.

So, when you hear of a new business opening its doors in your community, or even a neighboring town (because, let’s face it, they aren’t that far apart in our area) take some time to check it out. You never know what kind of difference you can make by spending your money locally.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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