As the regional chamber of commerce and economic development organization, the Vail Valley Partnership encourages our members to buy local, which is an easy way to support the local community. With over 770 local member businesses, you can find a partner for all of your business needs through our business directory at VailValleyPartnership.com.Why support local business? Local businesses, many of which are VVP members, have established a community connection, which helps our community establish a vital economy and provides jobs to our residents. A quick Google search of "economic benefits of shopping local" shows 3,750,000 results; there are likely close to 3 million reasons that can be found to shop locally. US News & World Report recently reported on "how consumers and communities can benefit from buying local." Their report used a case study done by consultants Civic Economics, in 2004, which conducted the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics (a fact-finding mission commissioned by Chicago's Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and the Andersonville Development Corp.)The study examined the economic impact of 10 local businesses in the Andersonville commercial district against that of chain businesses in the area. The study's findings: Of every $100 spent at local businesses, $68 remains in the Chicago economy, while of every $100 spent at a chain, $43 remains in the Chicago economy. For every square foot occupied by a local firm, the local economic impact is $179. For every square foot occupied by a chain firm, local economic impact is $105.The Anderson Study also showed that nonprofit organizations receive greater support from local business owners than they do from non-locally owned businesses. Given the vast number of non-profit organizations doing great things in our community, this becomes even more important in an area such as the Vail Valley. Another case study of interest, the AIBA Economic Impact case study from December 2002, shows that businesses owned by people who live in the community are less likely to leave and are more invested in the community's future. Again, this makes intuitive sense - and helps create a stable economy.Similar case studies can be found without digging too deeply; and it all makes sense intuitively as well. Shopping local Vail Valley businesses helps benefit our community in ways that Internet shopping or trips outside the valley don't. Re-circulation of money, jobs, community character, increased levels of customer service (most of the time). These all contribute to a sense of community and enhanced economic vitality for our valley.It's important to note that shopping local and supporting local business is more than just a retail shopping standpoint. Our community is filled with local business-to-business service providers and professional service firms; the above benefits exist for these businesses as well. "Creative Industries," an industry segment outlined by the state of Colorado, is among our top job creators and includes graphic design, consulting firms, architects, advertising and public relations firms and more. These business, as much as retail storefronts, deserve high consideration for local businesses when discussing "shopping local."To help support our local small businesses, the Partnership is happy to launch our own "shop local" program. Our shop local program includes enhanced business listings on VailValleyPartnership.com and VisitVailValley.com and the ability to participate in our Trippons.com mobile coupon program, including additional exposure to destination guests via our email confirmations and websites. The Partnership will also be promoting local businesses on an ongoing basis via our media partners. Each and every effort we do to promote the "shop local" message is designed to support the Vail Valley's small business community.From retail to professional services to industry meetings or business retreats, we encourage you to visit our shop local business directory and local business deals on VailValleyPartnership.com to learn more about local businesses offering discounts and special offers available to the local community. We'll have a year-round presence in our local media outlets, helping promote the "shop local" message and promoting our business members.Amazon.com or businesses in Denver just can't benefit our community the way local businesses can. Modest changes in consumer spending habits can generate substantial local economic impact.How can your business participate? If you want to spotlight your business in our "shop local" campaign and other promotional channels, join the Vail Valley Partnership. Membership starts at $1 per day. Visit www.vailvalleypartnership.com to learn more. Chris Romer is executive director of the Vail Valley Partnership.