by Pete Mazzaccaro

Every year, the Chestnut Hill Local reports dozens of stories on new businesses and restaurants that open in our neighborhood. It’s one of the primary responsibilities of this paper to let people know when new shops open and when old favorites close.

And, every year, you’ll hear an appeal to consider spending your money locally when you can.

The climate for retail has not gotten easy in recent years. Online behemoths like eBay and Amazon are sucking up millions of dollars in purchase. Subscription plans for everything from music to groceries is also taking more and more money out of local economies.

We all know shopping local is the best bet to support our neighborhoods, even if we’re not always great at putting that knowledge to practice. There are some important findings from the Small Business Administration that illustrate just how important shopping local can be.

• Small, local businesses donate 250% more to nonprofits and community efforts than larger businesses.

• Out of every $100 spent at a local business, $68 stays in in the local economy. Of that same $100 spent at big box stores, only $43 stays in the local economy.

Aside from those clear, numerical benefits, shopping local keeps unique businesses in Chestnut Hill that often offer much better customer service than you’d find at a big box store or online retailer. And those same charming businesses do wonders for local property values on and off Germantown Avenue, Bethlehem Pike and elsewhere.

As the shopping season approaches, it’s important to consider just how you spend your money and how shopping locally is so much more than simply doing right by your neighborhood. It’s quite literally an investment in yourself.

So as you plan your holiday shopping lists, from gifts for the kids to food for the feast, think about how you can put your money where your home is.