Kent Johnson

Kent Johnson is the new publisher for the Ahwatukee Foothills News

David Jolkovski/AFN

The holidays are upon us and it’s that time of year to think about unique ideas and special gifts for the special people in our lives.

With December just weeks away, we’re all starting to think about how we’re going to get this done before we ring in 2013. But as you start that process, have you thought about where you will shop?

Will you even go to a store? Who will get your hard-earned dollars this year? Local businesses? Online or large retail customers?

The circle of money that flows from the almighty dollar is complicated these days. Once a business takes a dollar in you can bet it will go towards payroll, taxes, electric bills, and more. What we forget about is where the rest of that money goes. Does it stay local, or leave the city or state? What percentage goes back into the local economy?

Many of us have worked for both private and public companies through the years. When a public company takes your dollar, it goes to pay local employees, and probably some local infrastructure. The remaining usually leaves the local economy. When a private company takes in a dollar, that dollar is most likely going to stay in your local economy for years to come.

I fully realize that both private and public entities are important; however, according to, small businesses pay 44 percent of the payroll, have generated 65 percent of the new jobs over the past 17 years, and employ half of the workforce in America.

The Ahwatukee Foothills Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to help navigate today’s business challenges.

“Local business owners are your neighbors with a more personal approach to business,” said Anne Gill, the chamber’s president and chief executive officer. “The items they carry are more unique and customizable. They will also take the earnings and put it back into the local economy.”

Local businesses have been a staple of many local economies. Keeping them viable and strong this season is important as we move into 2013. The economics are going to get even tougher in the years to come with changing health care laws and taxes. This is why your dollars are so important to every local business, and supports the community you live in. So as we get set to spend through the holidays, please keep your local merchants in mind.


• Kent Johnson is publisher of the Ahwatukee Foothills News. Reach him at (480) 898-7901 or

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