Cindy White 2017

As you make your Christmas list and check it twice, be sure to remember to shop Charleston whenever you can. There are many good reasons to shop locally. Here are a few:

  1. More money spent local stays local. When you spend $100 at a locally owned store, $48 goes back into our community.
  2. Local business owners invest back into their community. Ninety-one percent of local business owners contribute to their community, including schools, nonprofits and community groups, by volunteering and making donations.
  3. Most new jobs are provided by locally owned businesses. Small local businesses account for a large share of new jobs created each year and locally based businesses provide some of the most stable employment opportunities in a community.
  4. Supporting local business puts your taxes to good use. Local stores in town centers require comparatively little infrastructure and make more efficient use of public services.
  5. Unique local businesses preserve our town’s distinctive character. Charleston has dozens of small businesses that have been in town for years, thus contributing to the town’s special quality.
  6. Competition and diversity lead to more consumer choices. A multitude of small businesses, each selecting products based on their own interests and the needs of their local customers, guarantees a much broader range of product choices.
  7. Small business owners focus on customer service and quality goods. Local business employees take the time to get to know their customers and focus on extra attention and customer service.
  8. Shopping local saves you money. Choosing to shop locally saves you gas and travel time which equates to money saved.
  9. Shopping local has a lower environmental impact. Local businesses make more local purchases requiring less transportation and help sustain vibrant, compact business centers.
  10. Entrepreneurship. Local entrepreneurship fosters economic innovation, growth and prosperity. The success of locally owned, independent businesses provides real-life inspiration to our young people, proving that they can stay in Charleston and prosper on their own terms.

For that hard-to-please person on your Christmas list, we suggest getting them a Choose Charleston Gift Check. The gift checks can be purchased at the Chamber office in any amount. The recipient of the certificate can then use it at their choice of over 200 different retail and service businesses in Charleston.

Gift checks are simple to give or receive. They are treated just like regular checks and can be deposited at the point of purchase just like any other check.

Gift checks are the perfect solution for thank you gifts for your postal carrier, hairdresser, paper carrier, teachers, etc.

And, best of all, the money goes back to Chamber member businesses in the Charleston area.

The Charleston Chamber is now accepting nominations for two annual awards.

The Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award and Small Business of the Year Award will be presented as part of the program at the Chamber Annual Dinner on January 27, 2018.

Detailed criteria for selection, submission instructions and nomination forms for the awards are available at the Chamber office or by calling 217-345-7041. The forms can also be downloaded from the Chamber website at

Nominations, including any supporting documentation, should be sent to the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 77, Charleston, IL 61920 or dropped off at the Chamber office (501 Jackson Avenue) by 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8.

All Chamber members and their guests are invited to attend a Joint Business After Hours on Thursday, Dec. 14 from 5-7 p.m. The event will hosted by First Neighbor Bank at their Charleston facility located at 1415 18th Street.

Stop by for some holiday cheer with great food, drinks and giveaways.

Cindy White is president and chief executive officer of the Charleston Area Chamber of Commerce.


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