As Small Business Saturday approaches, I started to tick off businesses that I support in the Madison area. By the end of the list, I felt good about my choices. For produce I shop at our fabulous farmers’ market, I buy about 99.9% of my clothing at a locally owned store (and have for the past 30 years) and of course my pharmacy is a locally owned Independent. That is just for starters.

How about you? As we ask for community support for our pharmacies, are we doing everything we can to promote and support other locally owned businesses? And are you encouraging your staff to do the same? When you support local business, do you and your staff identify yourselves to the owner and ask for their support in return?

In case you need any further encouragement to spread the word about the benefits of buying local, here are some of the newest statistics.

1. Buying Local enriches the community economy. If the people of an average American city were to shift 10% of their spending from chains to local, it would bring in an additional $235 million per year to the community’s economy.

2. Buying Local helps keep retail unique. It also ensures that one-of-a-kind businesses survive. When people go on vacation, they seek out destinations and shops that feel like “some place” instead of “any old place.”

3. Buying Local provides more jobs. The opening of a Wal-Mart reduces retail employment by an average of 150 jobs in the county of its location. In contrast, when added together, locally owned and independent business is the largest local employer.

4. Buying Local ensures a solid foundation for local non-profits. Locally owned businesses give, on average, 250% more support than chains.

5. Buying Local supports businesses that create good places to work. Treating employees well is part of the community connection.

Use your marketing materials to spread the word and educate people in your community. Bag stuffers do not have to be used only in your store. Instead, approach physicians you work with and ask if you could leave some on their registration counter. Try the same at independent living and senior housing. Are you giving an educational seminar somewhere? Take them with and hand them out. Consider creating a mailer that mirrors your approach with the flyer. Involve other small businesses to support each other on the same marketing piece. And of course, put the benefits above on your website and Facebook pages.

Next time you go out to dinner or buy that new outfit, remember to support those same people you want in your pharmacy. Not only is that good marketing, but it is good for the health of your community.