Local Businesses vs. National Chain Stores: Which is Better at Boosting the Economy?

December 15, 2003 - Posted at: 7:00PM

JONESBORO, AR -- 'Tis the season for gift-giving. So you want to finish up your shopping list, while helping to boost the local economy. Is is better to buy from a small business or a large chain store?

"Profits that are made by the locally-owned stores, generally stay in our economy without moving outside, and the way it's equalized is the fact that the chains employ large numbers," said Henry Jones, Jonesboro Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Jones said Jonesboro's two Wal-Mart stores employ more than 700 people. While their checks are written in Northwest Arkansas, they spend most of their money in Jonesboro.

New business owner Nancy Chrisman hopes shoppers go for unique specialty gifts. Her women's apparel and accessory shop on Main Street has items made from artists in Northeast Arkansas and St. Louis.

"These are small family-owned businesses. They are not supported by corporate headquarters in another state or something like that. It's local people who are trying to make a difference in our community," added Chrisman.