Peoria County commends this year's class of 40 Leaders Under Forty for their accomplishments and leadership roles in the region. We understand that to be a truly successful leader, as these young men and women are, we must do more than the norm. Therefore, as a leader in local government, Peoria County participates in collaborative programs and initiatives that elevate our organization and the community. One such initiative is a new campaign that encourages residents to "Live and Shop Peoria County."
The County's new campaign stems from our partnership and participation in Small Business Saturday over the past few years. My colleagues on the County Board and I, along with the City of Peoria and Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce, share a desire to encourage area residents to purchase goods and services from their neighbors— local business owners—year-round, in addition to the Saturday after Thanksgiving. By supporting local businesses, we become a more sustainable community, with increased job opportunities and fewer business closings.
Internet sales are not only harmful to local businesses, they also hurt local government. When people buy products online rather than at local stores, they are diverting dollars from the local economy. And when Peoria County residents shop on their computer or in another county, they are diverting sales tax dollars needed to support important local public services, such as law enforcement and fire protection. As a result of these trends—and because the economy is still struggling to rebound from the recession—"buy local" campaigns have become more widespread throughout the nation. And while these campaigns may be common-sense, they are only as successful as we make them. For Peoria County to achieve the desired results—a healthy local economy, business retention, business growth and sustained sales tax revenues—we, the residents of Peoria County, must be committed to buying local.
"Live and Shop Peoria County" means just that: we live in Peoria County and we shop in Peoria County. When you consider that small businesses in the United States employ 80 percent of the workforce, it becomes critical to the success of a community that we support our small business owners, for they support the majority of us. We shop local businesses because we want to keep local businesses—and the jobs they provide—here in our community. We also shop local businesses because we want our sales tax dollars to continue to support the public services provided by our city and county governments. Peoria County leads by example, and we hope you will join us in leading our community to "Live and Shop Peoria County." On November 29th, let's shop Small Business Saturday… then continue to shop locally year-round.iBi