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February 17, 2021

We’re all investors when we support local

Buy local” initiatives have been increasing in popularity for more than a decade, with the movement gaining momentum in 2010 when American Express launched its first Small Business Saturday. Designed to boost revenue for independently-owned businesses that were struggling due to the 2008 recession, the holiday campaign was a hit with small retailers across the country. In many regions, including Northeastern Pennsylvania, Small Business Saturday has grown into an annual tradition. During COVID-19, we’ve seen a resurgence of “buy local,” “shop small,” campaigns year-round in support of small businesses facing economic challenges during the pandemic. For many local business owners, the increased community awareness has made the difference between staying open, and closing their doors forever. This support is critical to the economic vitality of the community.

Why it matters

The impact of supporting local isn’t solely limited to business owners and their employees. The outcomes of these investments are far greater because of the local multiplier effect. The American Independent Business Alliance explains: “The Multiplier Effect results from the fact that independent locally-owned businesses recirculate a far greater percentage of revenue locally compared to absentee-owned businesses (or locally owned franchises). In other words, spending locally creates more local wealth and jobs.” Here’s why:

  • They employ local people, who in turn, support the local economy with their purchasing power.
  • A portion of their profits are invested right back into the community. Locally-owned businesses are more likely to support each other, hiring other local vendors and suppliers as often as possible.
  • Independent business owners often say “yes” when asked to support community initiatives. They are invested in their communities, providing sponsorships for Little League teams, donating goods and services to charitable causes, and volunteering for programs that enhance the quality of life in their hometowns.
  • They populate storefronts and keep downtowns and Main Streets vibrant and desirable, which attracts new residents and new businesses into the area.

How to find locally-owned businesses

One of the greatest challenges facing small business owners is reaching their target audience to attract new customers, while maintaining regular communication with their existing customers. With modest marketing budgets, and limited resources, it’s difficult to compete with sophisticated advertising campaigns their national competitors produce. This means consumers who want to support locally-owned businesses may need to do a little homework before their next shopping trip, but don’t let this deter you. Finding independent businesses in your community is easy once you know where to look:

  • Social Media: One of the most cost-effective ways for businesses to stay in touch with their customers is through social media. If they forego paid advertising, the only expense associated with posting to popular sites such as Instagram and Facebook is the time it takes to generate content for their posts. Many are making the most of this option, and posting regularly. Ask your friends for recommendations on everything from restaurants to fitness centers, salons, clothing stores, florists and coffee shops, and start following their favorite businesses. You’ll have a great list of small businesses in your hometown in no time. Be sure to check out their websites, too. In addition to in-person services, many local restaurants and retailers offer e-commerce options so you can shop online and order curbside pickup or delivery services.
  • Chambers of Commerce: Visit your local Chamber of Commerce website and search for “members,” “local businesses” or “directory” to find scores of small businesses in your region. Sign up for email newsletters to stay in touch with the latest member news. To get started, visit the Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce, the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.
  • Business & Professional Association Directories: From metropolitan areas to boroughs and small towns, business and professional associations are non-profit organizations devoted to supporting the small businesses in their region. A quick Google search of “business association in <insert your city or neighborhood>, PA” and you’ll be well on your way to finding some great new shops, restaurants, and professional services.
  • City and County Guides: Many cities and counties post business directories with links to local small businesses on their websites. A simple Google search can yield hundreds of new possibilities.
  • Economic Development Organizations: Non-profit organizations dedicated to economic development and quality of life issues can be a great resource for anyone interested in supporting independent businesses. Search for “economic development in <insert your city or hometown>, PA” to connect with a non-profit near you.
  • Small Business Development Centers: Your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) helps new entrepreneurs launch their businesses, and supports existing independent businesses as they grow. To find an SBDC near you, visit America’s SBDC.
  • Television, Radio, Newspapers: Look, and listen, to local media outlets. Their editorial coverage focuses on the people and places making headlines in your hometown, and many of their advertisers are local businesses. Don’t forget to check out their blogs and follow them on social media to stay in touch with the latest small business news.

Support local opportunities are everywhere

Remember, support local initiatives aren’t limited to retail and restaurants. They also include professional services, such as tax preparation, real estate agencies, and… banking! Fidelity Bank is proud to be a community bank and when you bank locally, it’s the same as shopping locally. While national and regional banks take money on deposit and lend it out to people and businesses in an array of markets, community banks don’t. That means the money you deposit with Fidelity is lent to your neighbors and friends only. Community Banks like Fidelity also have the flexibility and knowledge to support initiatives like Boost Business NEPA that assist businesses and organizations in your neighborhood.

Learn More

Fidelity Bank has built a strong history as trusted advisors to clients served, and is proud to be an active member of the community. With branches located throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley, Fidelity Bank offers full-service Trust & Investment Departments, a mortgage center, and an array of personal and business banking products and services. The Bank provides 24 hour, 7 day a week service to clients through a variety of digital banking tools, branch offices, online at, and through the Customer Care Center at 1-800-388-4380.