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Chamber Communique: Shopping local supports philanthropy in our community

As you may have read through the numerous stories in your local papers during this holiday season, the Ashland Chamber’s Retail Task Force has created some really fun and exciting events and promotions to shop local this holiday season. We hope that you have received and are using your Holiday Gift Guide that was mailed to you the week of Thanksgiving.

Have you checked out the fun windows for the “Walking in a Window Wonderland” Window Decorating competition and cast your vote? How about Friday, Dec. 14? Are you planning on heading downtown with your family for Shop in Your PJs Night? There are so many ways to get out and enjoy the Ashland community this holiday season, and we hope you are taking advantage of each and every one!

We have shared with you the importance of shopping local, the economic impact, the exceptional customer service and experience, and of course the creation and maintenance of hundreds of local jobs in our community. But an important point, perhaps, one of the most important reasons to shop local during the holidays and all throughout the year, is that when you shop local, your dollars are also paid forward to help countless local organizations.

Jim Flint’s article, “Stop Feeding the Mouse” was a wonderful introduction to the Ashland Chamber’s Retail Task Force. These members from The Paddington Family of Stores, Manzanita Home + Flowers + Gifts, The Websters, Travel Essentials, The Crown Jewel and the Ashland Fly Shop work year-round to create programs, promotions and events to support the larger Ashland retail community.

Beyond their time, this amazing group of retailers supports numerous organizations throughout the year. Organizations such as Soroptimists, Ashland Schools Foundation and the Monster Dash, Jackson County Fuel Committee, Ashland Independent Film Festival, JPR, Ashland Emergency Food Bank, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Community Works, Friends of the Ashland Library, ACCESS, Rogue Riverkeeper and The Freshwater Trust, just to name a few, benefit from the generosity and support of the members of the Retail Task Force.

This group contributes, on average, more than $30,000 in direct gifts to local organizations. This number is likely grossly underestimated as these businesses also give, besides cash contributions, gift certificates to support auctions and more. Also, this represents just the members of the Ashland Chamber’s Retail Task Force. Consider the impact once the philanthropy of all of Ashland’s independent retail businesses are included.

When you shop local and support our local businesses, you are supporting the countless organizations they contribute to and allow them the ability to do so, year over year. Shopping locally means true philanthropy in the Ashland community and that is something we can all be excited and grateful for as we finish our holiday season and welcome 2019.

Dana Preston is membership and business development director for the Ashland Chamber of Commerce. For more information, go to www.ashlandchamber.com, call 541-482-3486 or stop by the office at 110 East Main St.

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