By Rhea Landholm, Center for Rural Affairs

This holiday season, will you be among 83 percent of consumers who plan to do some portion of their holiday shopping at a small, independently owned retailer or restaurant?

These types of businesses are what keep our small communities thriving. Up and down rural main streets, shopkeepers are readying their stores for the season. They welcome shoppers from their communities and those who are just visiting. Business owners are even stocking rolls of wrapping paper to provide added value when you spend your money with a local retailer.

In support, shop local events are popping up across America. One such celebration in Fremont, Nebraska, is planned hour by hour and block by block. Participating store owners are giving away treats, cider, and cocoa; hosting live music; and holding drawings.

Main street businesses are an important part of our life in rural America. I am part of the 9 in 10, or 91 percent, of consumers who believe it’s more important than ever to support small businesses this holiday season. Are you?

During this holiday season, and year round, #ShopSmall. Support your community, your friends, and your way of life. When local businesses succeed, we all win.