As the summer winds down, and the first day of the new school year approaches, kids are busily compiling their back-to-school wish lists. And that means back-to-school shopping. From school supplies to new clothes, back-to-school shopping can be an overwhelming task. Luckily, Ahwatukee is full of fabulous stores for shoppers of every age and every need.

During the second busiest retail season local retailers are offering sales and incentives to draw shoppers in. When you do your shopping in Ahwatukee, taxes from the merchandise you buy go directly to the city of Phoenix General Fund. City sales taxes are about 40 percent of total General Fund revenue, which pays for city services such as police and fire protection, parks, libraries, senior centers and street maintenance.

When you make purchases at local and small businesses, more of your money recirculates in the community instead of being sent out of state. For every $100 you spend at a local business, $73 stays in Phoenix. That means more jobs, neighborhood improvements and community development for Ahwatukee.

Shopping at locally-owned businesses makes a huge difference. By keeping local dollars working here at home, our community, local businesses, jobs and schools all prosper. Plus, many of them give back to community members in need.

Amanda Hamm, Kyrene School District prevention manager, manages the Kyrene Resource Center and her Prevention Team will be meeting with families over the next two weeks to make sure all Kyrene students have what they need to be prepared for the first day of school. Besides shopping locally, you can help them achieve their goal by donating school age clothing in new or excellent condition, donating non-perishable food items, or making an online donation of support at www.kyrenefoundation.org 

We love our local businesses and their unique impact on our community. Since last year’s Cash Mob Saturday was such a success, Saturday, Aug. 17 will again be dedicated to driving sales to small businesses. Cash Mob Saturday is a great time to come out and support local small businesses in your community and boost the economy in the process.

The Shop Local sentiment of Cash Mob Saturday has been our focus throughout the year. Many in our community make it a habit to shop local first, knowing they can make a difference. Small business might be the backbone of the community, but the customers are the heart that keeps it vibrant.

On Aug. 17 be sure to patronize a locally-owned business, or simply gather some friends and dine at a local restaurant and treat yourself to a unique and personal dining experience. The chamber’s online business directory at www.ahwatukeechamber.com can help you locate nearby businesses offering specific goods or services. Or stop by our office to pick up a copy of the Community Directory and Resource Guide.

Cash Mob Saturday is a day to support the small businesses that help fuel the economy and invigorate our community. Thank you for keeping it local!

• Anne Gill is president and chief executive officer of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce. Reach her at (480) 753-7676 or anne@ahwatukeechamber.com.

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