Anne Gill

Anne Gill, president and CEO of the Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce on Monday, June 17, 2013.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Entrepreneurship fuels Ahwatukee’s economic innovation and prosperity. But did you know that when you shop at locally owned businesses, your money is recirculated over and over? With every $100 that is spent at a local retailer, $68 will return to the community through taxes and payroll. These dollars create wealth and additional sales tax revenue to pay for things like parks, libraries, and city services.

Modest changes in our spending habits can generate a substantial impact on the local economy. When we are asked to name our favorite restaurant or shop, we almost always cite a unique local business.

While we embrace the idea of distinctive businesses with local character, let’s not forget their survival depends on our patronage.

Saturday, Aug. 17 is dedicated to driving sales to our area businesses at one of their slowest times of the year. Community Cash Mob Saturday is the time to come out and support businesses in the community and boost the economy in the process.

Small business might be the backbone of the community but it’s the customers who are the heart that keeps it vibrant.

“The chamber and I went door-to-door to 300 small businesses owners, and their No. 1 request was for community support,” said Councilman Sal DiCiccio. “They support us, now let’s support them! The Community Cash Mob on August 17 is a great opportunity for us to say thanks in a way that really counts.”

Our shop local initiative is not just a feel good marketing campaign, but can in fact help build our small businesses bottom line. An annual survey conducted by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has found that independent businesses experienced solid revenue growth in 2012, boosted in part by shop local initiatives and growing public interest in supporting locally owned businesses.

We believe that our ongoing education to consumers on the benefits of supporting local businesses — such as keeping dollars in the community — is gaining traction and helping to drive positive sales results.

To kick off Community Cash Mob Saturday, the chamber will be hosting its second Back to Business Open House on Friday, Aug. 16 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is open to the public, so please join us for an afternoon to network, enjoy complimentary food from area restaurants, and learn about the programs and services provided to businesses by the chamber.

Community Cash Mob Saturday is a day to support the small businesses that help fuel the economy and invigorate our community. For this event to be more than a one day blip on the radar, its sentiment has to stay in our minds throughout the rest of the year.

Use our online business directory at to locate nearby businesses offering specific goods or services. If we make it a habit to shop local first, we can make a difference.

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

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