This will be a light week for Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce planned events. Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise with our members so busy in the positive-but-full onslaught of their busy season. The board of directors will converge this evening for the monthly board meeting as we quickly make our way towards February this weekend. Yes… already

Many of our member businesses and organization do, however, have events happening this week, including The Charlotte Players. They will present “Top of the World, A Carpenters Tribute” at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center on Thursday. Debbie Taylor and her eight-member “Top of the World” band play the Carpenters hit songs such as “A Song For You,” “Superstar,” “Top of the World” and “Yesterday Once More.” The Charlotte Performing Arts Center is located at 701 Carmalita St. in Punta Gorda. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. with preferred tickets priced at $49 and regular tickets at $44. For more information, call 941-255-1022 or visit charlotteplayers.org.

Shop Charlotte

Shop Charlotte … Shop Local … Shop Charlotte … Shop Local. We hear it and say it all the time. Some might say we even preach it. But often the “whys” don’t get explained to those we are delivering our sermons. One answer to the “why” of the “Shop Charlotte” sales pitch is that when you purchase from local businesses, more money is kept in the community. Local businesses often purchase from other local businesses and service providers. Buying local helps grow other businesses as well as the local tax base.

For some reason we tend to promote this ideology more during the holiday season, but I think it should be of a year-round effort. I founds lots of interesting data, lists, and philosophies while researching the details. The following list by Brook Barnett seems to tie things up rather neatly:

Keeps Money Local — Sales taxes fund our communities and provide vital services such as police and fire protection, street repairs and trash collection.

Local Investment — Local businesses are often less susceptible to national downturns and more likely to work harder to stay open.

Locally-Made Products — Local business owners often sell local products, which helps preserve the community’s distinction and creates more jobs locally, as well.

Support for Nonprofits — Local businesses support good work in our community.

Discover Interesting Things and People — unique and original stores and restaurants are part of what help contribute to a great quality of life.

Personal Connections — Getting to know the business owners is a great reason to shop local. They are the decision makers.

Product Knowledge — Business owners are well informed about their products and know what they are selling. They know and understand their customer’s needs.

Diverse Products — Local businesses offer products and services you might not find elsewhere.

Cost Effective — Often there is less overhead or ability to negotiate.

Better Experience — Local shopping can translate to more convenient, time efficient experiences.

Less “Leakage” — Local businesses tend to buy and sell with other local businesses with no seepage to outside areas.

Increased Expertise — Shopping at a local businesses means you can get an expert opinion about the products that you’re purchasing.

Create Community — Be a “local!”

Better Service — Local business owners do what they do because they are passionate about their products and typically take more time to get to know their customers.

Support Future Growth — Experts agree on the last reason. Shopping locally is THE best way to show pride in your community and help protect the businesses that make our area unique.

Teri Ashley is the executive director of the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, with offices in both Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. She can be reached at 941-639-2222 or at tashley@charlottecountychamber.org.

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