Anne Gill

Ahwatukee Foothills new Chamber of Commerce CEO is WellCare Foundation Executive Director Anne Gill. Oct 20, 2011. Darryl Webb/AFN

Darryl Webb

At this time of year, when the fervor of holiday shopping reaches a frenzy, local stores that benefit local nonprofits and our neighbors in need seem to be an especially logical choice. While it has been a tough year for many businesses, they still rally to raise money for those that need our help. It takes the whole “shop local” theme a step further to support a good cause. I know things are tough today for a lot of folks, and even $5 to $10 to any of our nonprofits does go a long way.

Shopping locally when you can makes all the difference in keeping our community vibrant, healthy and strong. It is all about supporting local community and giving back, and one reason we consistently promote shop local. Many independently-owned retail businesses are committed to providing resources to local nonprofits. For businesses, cause marketing can be used as a direct response vehicle that keeps aligned with a business’ operational goals.

Small business owners are involved in various charity organizations and giving back is important to them. Did you know that 89 percent of consumers believe small businesses positively contribute to their communities? Shopping locally gives you the power to preserve our community and treasured way of life. Keeping our shopping dollars in our local economy allows our Ahwatukee area businesses to support area causes. Local owners with much of their life savings invested in their businesses have a natural interest in the long-term health of the community. Community-based businesses are essential to charitable endeavors, frequently serving on local boards, and supporting a variety of causes.

Studies have shown that when you buy from a locally-owned business, up to three times more of your dollars are re-circulated in the local economy. Independent local businesses employ a wide array of supporting services. They hire architects, designers, cabinet shops, sign makers and contractors for construction. Opportunities grow for local accountants, insurance brokers, computer consultants, attorneys, advertising agencies and others to help run it. Local retailers and distributors also carry a high percentage of locally-made goods, creating more jobs for local producers.

If there are small businesses that you would like to celebrate, consider shopping at their establishments. When asked to name our favorite restaurant, cafe, shop, etc., we almost always cite a unique local business. We embrace the idea of distinctive businesses with local character, but often forget their survival depends on our patronage.

We hope that you will join us as we do our small part to say “thanks” to all our local business owners and friends. Giving back through donations to local organizations and groups is their way of saying “Thank You” to their customers for supporting them, and giving them the opportunity to support special causes. They’ve given up a lot to start their small business and we look forward to many more years of the great businesses that make Ahwatukee Foothills special.

• 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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