Community bonds include shopping locally

By BEN McCRORY / GUEST COLUMNIST

Despite the economic troubles all around us, residents and businesses of Shelby County continue to prosper comparatively well.

Shelby County is a place where the bonds of community remain strong.

Our neighbors are important to us, and we watch out for one another. We attend church and believe in charity, giving back to our community our time, talent and money.

That being said, as a former Montevallo Chamber of Commerce president, now mayor of Montevallo, it has always surprised me that so many of us, particularly those of us living in the less commercialized and sparsely developed portions of our county, choose to do business with those operating outside of our local communities.

I certainly understand the lure of low prices, a great sale or the fact everything we may need or want may not be available locally. However, whenever possible, we need to make every effort to buy locally.

The small cities and towns that make up Shelby County rely on local taxes — especially local sales taxes — to provide the high quality and diversity of services our citizens and businesses have come to expect, appreciate and deserve.

In addition, our local businesses, many of which are locally owned, live and die on the patronage of those living and working nearby.

These are the same businesses that we repeatedly call upon to help provide funding for locals events, support our local sports teams, offer assistance to our local schools and provide funds to meet all sorts of other local needs.

Without our continued patronage, they won’t be able to continue to support our community.

Especially in these days of crushingly high fuel prices, it also makes sound economic sense to shop closer to home —shorter shopping trips mean using less gas in our tanks and more money in our pockets.

Related to that, shopping locally is also good for our environment —shorter trips to the store means less carbon and other harmful elements being released into our environment. Shopping locally makes such good sense on so many levels.

So the next time you need something from the store, please make every effort to shop in your own community. Shopping locally pays dividends to us all.

Ben McCrory is the mayor of Montevallo.