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Small Business Saturday: Shopping local supports charitable efforts, too | READER COMMENTARY

Alison King, left, and Nikki Rhodes in their bookstore, Rudolph Girls Bookstore, in Westminster on Thursday, July 29, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times).
Alison King, left, and Nikki Rhodes in their bookstore, Rudolph Girls Bookstore, in Westminster on Thursday, July 29, 2021. (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times). (Brian Krista/Carroll County Times)

We hear lots of different reasons to shop small and local, especially this time of year. Shopping locally employs your friends and neighbors. It keeps your money in your community. You receive better, more personalized customer service and your purchase likely makes less of a negative impact on the environment. All of these things are 100% true and all are fantastic reasons to shop on Main Street this holiday season rather than scroll, click and hope your packages are delivered on time (”Baltimore-area holiday rush gets a head start amid concerns over shipping delays,” Nov. 21).

These were all reasons why my sister and I decided to become small business owners in 2021, but we quickly realized that owning a small business is also a fantastic way to give back to our community and to provide our customers with regular opportunities to do the same. Since opening, we have been asked to contribute to more local fundraisers and charitable organizations than we are able to help, but we have established a local scholarship fund, provided a discount incentive and physical drop-off location for the Shepherd’s Staff’s Call for Coats, participated in two of the Carroll Arts Centers largest fundraisers, and contributed gift cards and merchandise to several local fundraising events. And we’ve only been open for three months.

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Look at any of our local nonprofits and you will likely find a list of small businesses that help them out throughout the year. The bakery that makes cookies to benefit the Boys and Girls Club. The restaurant that contributes a percentage of sales to a different local nonprofit every single week. The brewery that regularly supports veterans. The numerous small retail businesses that sponsor runs, walks and other events to raise money for organizations run by and for the people in our community. And in the short time our business has been a part of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce, we’ve noticed that they never miss an opportunity to help small businesses in these efforts.

Your online purchase may save you a few dollars and allow you to shop from the comfort of your couch while wearing your pajamas, but what is really happening as a result of your purchase? Your local small business owners are putting that money back into our community every single day. If someone handed you $20 and asked if you would like to give that money to help send a rich guy to space or if you would like to help a local after-school program, make sure someone in our community has a warm coat this winter or help a local crisis center to keep providing services, you know which one you would choose. With nearly every purchase you make, you have the opportunity to make that choice and make a difference when you shop small.

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Alison King, Westminster

The writer is co-owner of Rudolph Girls Bookstore.

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