Shopping small is making a big difference in our local communities these days, thanks to a grass roots organization and its campaign to bring awareness and support for Mom and Pop shops in the area.
Businesses say they have seen the benefit.
This Saturday was "Shop Small Saturday" in the Sauk Valley area.
Every few months, independent businesses come together to promote themselves and each other, showing the community why it's important to support local businesses.
The big thing, they say, is that spending money locally stays locally.
According to a study and a US Census projection, 68 percent of your money stays within the community when you shop at a Mom and Pop store.
The organization that organizes the quarterly Shop Small Saturday events, Sauk Valley Shop Small, started about three years ago, and each Shop Small Saturday event since then has business owners reporting an increase in foot traffic and sales.
"It's these independent shops who really define who your community is. They're unique to each individual community. They really give the town its character," said Janna Groharing, a Shop Small Saturday co-organizer.
"Every year we've seen an increase, every quarter we've seen an increase in sales," said Terry Bright, who owns Golden Key Gifts.
"The people have been very supportive of Shop Small, it just continues to grow. Every time we do an event it seems like the people come out in full force," Bright added.
Groharing says buying local keeps more tax dollars in the community, which helps to fund public services, reducing the property tax burden.
Sauk Valley Shop Small estimates that if every household spent $10 a month in local stores, $2 million more would recirculate in the area each year. That means more cash for the community to spend increasing quality of life for residents.