With Halloween arriving Friday, we've reached the start of the holiday season.
November brings the start of holiday shopping and a big boost to retailers in our community. It also brings the first big influx of our winter visitors and residents.
Everyone knows the holidays can make or break our local retailers. The Manatee Chamber encourages you to shop local.
Here's a quick calculation for you (using rounded numbers): About 80 percent of Manatee County's population is 18 years or older, which equals approximately 270,000 people. This year, if all of these folks committed to spend $25 with a retailer in Manatee County they would have otherwise spent online, it would mean an economic boost for our local economy of $6.75 million.
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Consider the National Retail Federation estimates each consumer will spend approximately $800 on holiday gifts this year. Keeping all of those purchases local would mean more jobs, higher sales tax revenue for local needs and an investment in your neighbors' businesses.
If you need information on local businesses, I encourage you to visit ManateeChamber.com. You'll find a directory of more than 2,000 local businesses that have invested in our community's quality of life through the work and mission of the chamber.
Local businesses are committed to ensuring Manatee County is the best place to live, work, and play -- and own a business. We also have an app for mobile devices to help you save money with local businesses by giving you instant access to coupons and discounts.
Download the Manatee Chamber app -- it's free!
You'll also find these special offers listed on the chamber's website at ManateeChamber.com.
Another big boost to our economy is the arrival of our winter residents and visitors. Colder temperatures in the North mean a quick influx of people in the South.
The tourism impact trend continues in a positive direction for Manatee County. Last year 2.8 million visitors came to Manatee County with an economic impact of more than $900 million.
Our winter friends flock to Manatee County for "Chamber of Commerce weather" and a community rich in amenities and friendly people. They provide a huge benefit to local businesses and the employees whose jobs depend on tourism and seasonal resident
spending. If you meet someone who is visiting, please say "thank you!" and invite them to come back again soon.
There are things each of us who call Manatee County home can do to strengthen our brand as a friendly community. Intentionally shopping local and welcoming visitors are two great places to start.
Thanks for all that you do!
Bob Bartz, president Manatee Chamber of Commerce, call 941-748-3411 or email BobB@ManateeChamber.com.