With current market conditions, it has become increasingly cheaper to buy distantly produced merchandise–even despite the increased cost of packaging, transport, inspection and other associated production and transfer expenses.  However, while minimally cheaper prices offer obvious monetary benefits, they often reflect a lack of adequate, personalized service as well as having significant repercussions on the environment.  Overall, this type of commerce is damaging to the economic wellbeing of your community.  According to eLocal.com, “Throughout the United States, only about 33.6% of the revenue from national chains is re-invested into the community, which is very low compared to the 64.8% return from local businesses.”  With the opportunity to buy merchandise from just about anyone offering it thanks to the Internet, as well as large corporations who have a presence both online and in large community outlet stores and warehouses, it is becoming increasingly rare for people to be aware or take advantage of the many benefits that local businesses can offer their patrons.

At Papillion Windows & Siding, they are not only able to offer a variety of products including windows, roofing, siding, gutters, and doors, but can also provide the personal attention to design and color selection of your items of choice.  Michelle Christensen, owner of Papillion Windows and Siding, emphasizes that their customers are not just a name and a product order.  They take the time to get to know you and create a long term working relationship that their customers can depend on.  She states, “We listen to each individual customer and cater to their requests, and we take extreme pride in our attention to all the details so the client doesn’t have to worry about the project being completed in a professional and timely manner.”  Additionally, in supporting local businesses you also support the local economy and job market.  Christensen notes that keeping dollars spent locally encourages small businesses like her own to grow, and in turn, hire more local employees and spend more in local market.  She adds that they have been quite busy after the recent hailstorm, and can handle nearly every aspect of a hailstorm damage project.

The latest hailstorm in April particularly highlights the importance as well as benefits of working with local building professionals, as they are able to act immediately to help repair damages and are available to survey these damages on-site.  Attic Solutions offers roofing, attic ventilation and insulation services, and are guaranteed to still be around for their clients when the dust settles.  They are the only company in roofing, attic ventilation or insulation that combines these trades into the complete HomeFIT system. This system has evolved as Attic Solutions has evolved, but the science of attic ventilation has always been their area of specialization and proprietary asset.  Larry Lunnin, of Attic Solutions, stresses the importance of supporting local businesses, as local business owners, their families and employees are the bedrock of the community.  Lunnin says, “We work, play, eat and sleep here and, at the end of the day, we’re extremely interested in, as Ghandi would say, being the change we wish to see in the community.”

Buying local also ensures that you know you are getting what you pay for, and that you have the support system behind the product you have purchased.  New Dawn Nutrition is a local business supporting the health and wellbeing of many Omaha area community members, and their New Dawn Nutraceuticals line is designed and developed personally by owner Brandon Stewart.  Stewart uses his customer experiences and feedback to continually develop and refine products that users here in Omaha want most.  In addition, he uses local companies for all of his printing, labeling and clothing products.  Since every product and service offered by New Dawn is a result of feedback by their users, New Dawn doesn’t try to compete with the online outlets that sell mass produced products at discounted prices. They sell highly researched and customized products that are of the best quality to help you meet your goals.  Stewart emphasizes that his team at New Dawn is highly educated in sports nutrition, health and supplementation–they won’t just sell you a product, they will educate you on what lifestyle changes you can make to get your best results and achieve your goals.  In addition, they are always available in person for questions and follow up.  New Dawn Nutrition looks forward to talking with you, learning about you and your goals and providing you with the right support to reach them!

Andy’s Appliance Repair, Inc. is another great example of a local business that truly cares about the community they work in.  The mission of Andy’s Appliance Repair is to provide quality customer service that restores order to their customer’s homes.  Andy’s also prides itself on providing a safe and stable work environment that their employees can be proud of, and have found success by upholding their reputation for being honest, trustworthy and dependable.  Tanner Andrews, owner of Andy’s Appliance Repair, emphasizes that keeping your business local ensures that you will have access to timely service, personal communication, additional resources and a guarantee that specifically covers all services performed.  Andrews says, “Our company utilizes technology that enables our technicians to be more efficient and better at their profession. Our technicians are electronically dispatched, which means they leave from their home and can get to their first call between 7:30-8:00 am.  This provides our customers with an early timeframe, which is more convenient for many people.  Our clients also receive their receipt via email, which saves paper and at the same time makes it easier to find if they need it later on.  Our website also provides the option to schedule online.  This isn’t just a request, you actually pick your day and timeframe and it is automatically in our schedule.  All of our technicians have laptops so they can access online resources to help diagnose and repair appliances, as well as hook the computer up to new appliances to diagnose them.  One of our biggest selling features is our one year part and labor warranty.  The local standard is 30-90 days, but we don’t feel that is adequate and we stand behind what we do, so we provide a full year.”

COMPLETE COMFORT HEATING and AIR has been serving the Omaha area from their convenient Mid Town location for over 15 years! Angie Timm of Complete Comfort says that a great deal of credit for their growth can be attributed to the countless word of mouth referrals from satisfied, local COMPLETE COMFORT customers.  She adds that many of the calls to COMPLETE COMFORT are service calls to extend the life of and save customers money on existing systems. Their services include regularly scheduled maintenance, performance inspections and routine adjustments along with competitively priced replacement equipment.  This equipment includes GEO THERMAL systems that serve as an upgrade to operating efficiency and are guaranteed to increase your personal comfort level.  Timm stresses that what really distinguishes COMPLETE COMFORT in the Omaha area is their reputation for not only high quality technical service, but a commitment to customer service excellence and satisfaction that is unrivaled.  Additionally, owner Jeff Ockinga (pronounced “aw-kin-gay”) reaffirms his commitment to COMPLETE COMFORT customer satisfaction by being personally available to address any questions or concerns you may have!

Max Muscle offers a diverse and innovative line of only the highest quality nutritional supplements on the market as well as customized meal planning. When you walk into your local Max Muscle store, you are dealing with an experienced nutritionist who will help guide you through living a healthy lifestyle to not only achieve your health and fitness goals, but maintain them as well. Max Muscle’s products are stringently tested to meet label claims as well has being tested for impurities that many companies skip on. Steve Lucchino of Max Muscle says that this ensures you, as the consumer, are getting exactly what they say is on the label as well as being made in FDA regulated factories that adhere to GMP (good manufacturing practices).  Max Muscle is concerned with your health and wellness, not a “pill pusher” that is just there to sell you the latest “solution in a bottle”. Their staff will help guide you through the necessary changes to make your lifestyle conducive to achieving and maintaining your goals. After all, if it’s not a lifestyle, it’s not for life! Max Muscle’s products are also designed and formulated by Dr. Phil Harvey, a leading expert in nutritional biochemistry/nutrigenomics and full-time professor for over 18 years, whose credentials also include: PhD, Registered Dietitian, CNS and Fellow of the American College of Nutrition.  Dr. Harvey has been the formulator of over 90 scientific and evidence-based sports nutrition, weight loss, and health/wellness products.  Additionally, Max Muscle store directors (Steve/Jason) have a combined 12+ years of experience in the health and nutrition field. Keeping your business local with Max Muscle ensures you are being guided by local professionals who are passionate about the nutrition field and care about you personally.  Stop into their store locations in West Omaha at 177th & West Center, or in Papillion at 84th & Tara Plaza to take advantage of their highly effective products and expertise!

Cherie Phelps, of C. Phelps Photography, is a local photographer who specializes in high school senior photography and has been trained by leading photographers on a national level.  Her products are the best in the industry and the C. Phelps Photography studio offers her clients variety, allowing them the exact sizing and product line needed to display their images perfectly.  Phelps notes that “ Because I am local, I am able to form strong relationships with my clients, not only professionally but also personally, through cheering them on at the local high school sporting events and extra-curricular activities, seeing them in the grocery store, or working side-by-side with them while volunteering for local community events.”  She adds, “In photography, buying local doesn’t only mean staying in your community, it also means using studios that aren’t found in big box retail outlets or are a chain that can be found throughout the U.S.  The reason for this is quite simple: training and experience.  Anyone can become a photographer at those locations because the equipment is set, backgrounds rarely move locations and the process is laid out step-by-step for the photographer.  There is no creativity, no individuality, and no relationship. Personally, I would rather pay a little more and get a few breath-taking, beautiful images of my child on my wall that commands attention and represents who they are, than 25 images that are average and cheap, but don’t capture their personality, inquisitiveness, and sweet expression.”

According to eLocal.com, if the people of an average-sized American city were to shift 10% of their spending from chains to local businesses, it would bring an additional $235 million dollars per year to the community’s economy! That is a significant amount of money that could be staying local to support the Omaha community.  We all play a part in whether our economy thrives by making conscious decisions about how we spend the money we work so hard to earn.  There are plenty of advantages to keeping your business local, and we encourage you to always consider ways to support your local economy!