This time of year, avoiding potholes is easier than avoiding home delivery trucks on the road.

While the ease and convenience of ordering online and having it dropped off at your doorstep may satisfy your shopping fixes, it is easy to forget how shopping local helps keep our communities going. During a year where all businesses are struggling, it is a good to remember that supporting your local “mom-and-pop” businesses not only gets you what you’re looking for, but it also the gift that keeps on giving the whole year.

When you buy your items locally, you’re doing more than just support a local business owner: you’re supporting the economy and, ultimately, growth of the community. There have been countless number of studies and data analyzing the way money recirculates and they all show that when money is spent in the community, it stays in the community. In fact, according to a Civic Economic Study conducted in 2017 out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, if you spend $100 at a local business, roughly $68 stays in your local economy. If you spend the same are a large business, only $43 stays in the local economy. By shopping locally, you simultaneously create jobs, fund more services through sales tax, invest in neighborhood improvement and promote community development.

Covid-19 has caused many furloughs, layoffs or outright termination of jobs for people. Many are struggling to find employment. When you choose to shop local, you are choosing to help someone find the job they want and need. According to the Small Business Administration, small companies create 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64% of new jobs created in the United States. Shopping locally provides some of the most stable employment opportunities in a community and, in turn, causes those employees to spend their hard-earned money back in the local economy as well.

Competition is a good thing. It brings diversity and options for customers. While you may be able to get anything with a few clicks online, getting them from the people who will help build a better community matters more in the long run. Those businesses you support are the same ones who support local philanthropic and charity organizations. They are also the ones who, when you are in need of something in a pinch, they will go the extra mile to make sure you are taken care of.

Think of it this way: would you rather help fund another vacation home for a corporate CEO with your online purchase or buy from a local business so the owner can provide for his/her family, whether it be food on table, a house payment, tennis lessons for his daughter or piano class for her son?

If necessity is the mother of all invention, then shopping local is the mother of stability in a community. By supporting a locally owned and operated organization, whether it is a restaurant, retail location or even a real estate company, you are not just saying but showing your local community is important. While ordering your gifts this holiday season can be as easy as a click of a button from home, clicking online instead of shopping local is also an easy way to see the local businesses you know and love go offline but negatively impact the power of your community. This holiday season choose to shop local when you can.