By mtjulietintern

Kenny Martin

With e-commerce now a big part of our buying and purchasing processes, there is no better time than now to support your local businesses more than ever.

I know I seem like a broken record, but if we don’t support our local businesses, they can’t survive, and if they don’t survive, I think that is sad. Maybe it’s the current economy, my getting older and worrying more or just plain old love for my community.

I’m not quite sure what it is, but I sure have found myself thinking about it a lot lately for many good reasons. I personally think it’s because I care for and love my county, my country and the people who call it home. But that would sound boastful, egotistical and mushy, to say the least. And that’s OK; I love lots of stuff, and as my mom always said, “Say it loud and say it proud if you mean it.”

As I drive throughout our wonderful community, I keep thinking about the old Ronald Reagan movie, “The Gipper.” In the movie, there was a wonderful quote, “Win one for the Gipper.” As a point of personal pride, I’d like to win one for Wilson County and all of our residents.

Neighbors, I need your help and our county needs your help. With all that is going on with e-commerce, our national and state economy and the state of brick-and-mortar stores, the need to focus on our local economy and our brick-and-mortar businesses has never been more important. Small businesses are what drive our local economy and are the economic engines of our great country and county.

Small businesses provide sales tax revenue, convenient local services and goods and jobs, jobs, jobs to mention just a few benefits. When consumers shop on-line or patronize businesses outside their local county and communities, our local businesses suffer from a lack of or reduction in sales.

When sales volumes and patronage drops, so does the need to have employees working. When employees aren’t working they can’t make money to patronize other business or pay their bills and the vicious cycle continues and/or grows. And this does not even get into the funding that local sales brings to our schools and other city and county services

If we don’t shop locally by supporting our brick-and-mortar businesses, our tax dollars benefit other cities and counties and not ours. E-commerce is convenient, and I totally understand that and why it may be appealing. But what we lose today via e-commerce sales will have to be made up somewhere else down the road by other means.

If local businesses aren’t supported, they move to other communities or go out of business. When this happens, we lose more revenues from our community and the ability to attract new businesses to offset the ones we lost. The end result is we never catch up and only fall further and further behind, and I know none of us want that to happen.

I know times are changing as they always have, but e-commerce may change some things in such a way that we lose a lot about what we love about the shopping experience, as well. Sorry for such a gloomy column, but there is good news here.

The good news is that we can control what happens when it comes to keeping taxes low and raising local revenues. Supporting your local businesses by patronizing them first is to our local economy as what eating healthy, exercising, sleeping eight hours a day and taking vitamins is to your health.

Please support your local businesses even if it means waiting until you get back to Wilson County or not shopping online as often. Shopping outside Wilson County supports that community and only costs us in the long run, and shopping online doesn’t really help our community.

This is your county and your cities, so please take it personal. It’s like an investment in your future. Not supporting your local businesses is like depositing your paycheck in your neighbor’s bank account. It doesn’t really gain you any true benefit.

Call me selfish, but I like doing stuff that might benefit me and those who I care about. I care about you, our county, our local businesses and our children’s future. I want our children and the rest of us to have the most prosperous, faithful and friendly community in the world. We can have it and so much more if we support each other and our community with passion, enthusiasm and good old-fashioned good will, unity and teamwork.

We can’t control much of anything outside of Wilson County, but this is our house and our family, and we can make a difference in what happens here. Again, e-commerce is convenient, but if does not help our community like our businesses do. For example, e-commerce isn’t going to sponsor our local dance, basketball, baseball, football or soccer teams.

E-commerce isn’t going to build the ramp for the person in need, and e-commerce isn’t going to help the local family or families that lose everything in a fire, flood or national disaster.

Please help me support our local businesses today, tomorrow and every day going forward. They need us, and we need them, and only you can help make a difference that matters to Wilson County, Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, Watertown and all of our unincorporated parts of Wilson County.

We and they need your support now more than ever.

God bless the USA and God bless Wilson County and all those who call it home. Now, let’s go win one for Wilson County.

Kenny Martin is city manager in Mt. Juliet.