There are many reasons to shop locally - this year and always. Fort Dodge is a town that serves as a retail center for our region and has all the necessities we need. Our local businesses work very hard to provide goods and services for our community; they make investments in property (and pay property taxes here, from which we benefit greatly); they make investments in inventory (which provide sales tax for us) and they make investments in our community through donations to our schools, our athletic events, our charities and our non-profit organizations. They do this readily - they have made commitments to this region for the ''long haul''- they want to be here, and they are willing to risk their savings, their earnings and their free time to do this. They stake their future on having their businesses here.
We probably just take for granted that they do this. We need to thank them for making these investments so that we have the opportunity to shop here in Fort Dodge.
Another reason to shop locally is to save fuel. If you think you are going to save money by shopping in a larger store in another community, don't forget to add the cost of mileage to your purchases. Currently, the cost of travel is $0.55/mile - so the trip to Des Moines to save some money on purchases is really costing you an additional $110 in gas and depreciation. That is quite a bit to have to compensate for saving a few dollars on your purchases.
And don't forget the cost of the carbon footprint that out-of-town travel is leaving. It is estimated that private transportation comprises 10 percent of each individual's carbon footprint on the earth. Just think how significantly we can each reduce this if we opt to shop locally.
And, last but not least, but something I feel is very important, by shopping locally, you will have a lot more time to pursue other interests - sports, reading, meals at home with your families, working in your yard and visiting with your friends and neighbors. There are so many things to do in this area. I challenge you to treat Fort Dodge as your retail and entertainment destination. Visit these Web sites to see all that is happening right here in our backyard: www.fortdodgechamber.com; www.messengernews.net (click on Calendars toward the bottom of the home page); www.fddvb.com (the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau) and www.discoverfortdodge.com.
You'll discover there are more things happening here than you ever imagined. Not only do we have concerts, races, theater productions and athletic events, we have great places to visit.. There are many great restaurants in Fort Dodge. And what about fun things to do? When was the last time you visited the Blanden? Or took your family to the Fort Museum? Or listened to a concert at the Bandshell? Or took a walk on the Nature Trail, or visited Kennedy Park? Or Brushy Creek? Or a local restaurant? Or a local retail store or antique shop or Expo Pool? The Webster County Fair will be July 8-13 - lots to do and see there. I've just named things that could keep you entertained for days. Most are absolutely free or have very little cost associated with them. I wish I could name more.
Let's all do this. I think you'll find we have all sorts of undiscovered gems right here in our region. We will all benefit by keeping our dollars right here - locally. We're all in this together. Let's help each other out.
Amy Bruno is executive director of the Fort Dodge Area Chamber of Commerce.