Local Commentary

Guest Commentary: Support The Little City by Shopping Local

Falls Church truly is a little city, filling 2.2 square miles with a plethora of arts, education, offices, parks, and more, yet all with a sense of history and small town charm. One often overlooked benefit for those live or work in The Little City is the wide variety of local businesses that are also part of the fabric of The Little City. By supporting our many local businesses we have unique opportunities to foster our sense of community, to reduce our impact on the environment, and to help fund City services through tax revenues.

Our City is home to many acclaimed businesses, including restaurants, doctors, theatres, dentists, hardware stores, toy stores, accountants, convenience stores, optometrists, cafes, veterinarians, caterers, and much more. Local businesses not only generate tax revenue for the City, they build a stronger community by contributing to local causes, supporting the schools, creating local jobs, and patronizing other local services. Shopping local helps our citizens, our businesses and our local government in a variety of ways:

• Generate Revenue for City Programs & Services – When you shop, dine, hire, play or otherwise spend money at local businesses, it generates income for the city’s general fund. In fact, 1% of purchases and 4½% of restaurant receipts directly benefit the city and its programs and services. Local businesses themselves further contribute to the city’s revenue by paying income, property, and employee taxes. Spending money locally keeps these tax revenues local and supports the city and its infrastructure.

• Support Schools, Special Events and Nonprofits – Local businesses provide major support and contributions of time and money to our school programs (including PTA programs, All Night Grad party, etc.); community events including the Memorial Day festivities and the Fall Festival; and nonprofit organizations that serve the City. Many local teenagers work their first jobs or internships right here! Business support of local causes is crucial to their success and involves contributions of time and money from local businesses, their owners and employees.

Falls Church businesses offer outstanding options and quality.

• Support and Attract Local Businesses – Falls Church is home to a wide array of diverse small and independent businesses. By choosing to shop local, you will help to keep them here while attracting new businesses to the community. Businesses want to be located near other successful businesses. Strong support for local eating establishments has certainly contributed to the opening of several new restaurants. When local establishment thrive, they attract more businesses to The Little City and provide shoppers with even more options – not to mention fewer vacant spaces.

• Go “Green” – By shopping local we can help our walkable and bikeable community expand and flourish. And use driving less reduces fuel consumption and pollution.

• Create and Maintain Local Jobs – Local businesses provide much needed jobs in our community. Supporting local businesses ensures that they can hire, train and retain quality employees, who often contribute to the community and patronize other local businesses.

• Keep Property Taxes Down – An increase in the City’s business tax revenue (see above) supports the City of Falls Church’s general operating fund. The more our business community and sales/meals taxes contribute to it, the less the residents have to support through their real estate property taxes.

• Enjoy Great Customer Service – Shopping locally helps form relationships with business owners and their employees. People enjoy doing business with people they know and trust. And, local business owners set their own policies and are typically more flexible than other stores.

• Protect Our Future – Many of the benefits listed here provide wonderful real world lessons for our youth, such as sustainability, a commitment to community, and the spirit of entrepreneurship.

• Save Money – Local businesses are often more competitive in their pricing than shoppers realize, especially when factoring in the cost and time savings by reducing the distance traveled.
Whether you are dining out, attending local events, taking in a music or theatre performance, getting an oil change, or shopping for gifts, Falls Church businesses offer outstanding options and quality. A commitment to “shop local” helps ensure that these options will continue to be available to those who live or work in The Little City.

Need a gift for a party, anniversary, or holiday? A gift card to one of our fine local establishments is great way to introduce others to unique local businesses. The next time you are sitting in traffic on the way to the mall or somewhere else to shop, ask yourself whether a stroll or bike ride in Falls Church could have accomplished the same shopping needs and much more. On behalf members of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce, I invite you to discover the joys and benefits of shopping local! For more information, visit www.ShopLocalFC.com.


Erik Pelton is a Falls Church resident, a local trademark attorney, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Falls Church Chamber of Commerce.