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"Small businesses built this country" | The impact of shopping at small businesses over the holidays

If you spend $100 at a big box store, only $43 will stay local. But if you spend $100 at a local business, $68 stays in the community.

TELLICO VILLAGE, Tenn. — Do you ever wonder where your money goes once you purchase an item?

Well, it all depends on where you spend it. 

If you spend $100 at a big-box store, only $43 will stay in the local economy. That is compared to $68 if you shop at a local business.

However, the customer lines at big-box and department stores are still out the door. Many small businesses want to tap into that traffic, including the ones on Tellico Village.

About 6,000 people live in Tellico Village, yet the local economy is booming. They want to keep it that way heading into the holiday season.

"Like many big businesses, the businesses here in Tellico Village are dependent upon the Christmas season for a significant part of their annual income," said Joe Bogardus, a co-administrator of the Tellico Village Business Alliance.

The alliance connects more than 80 small businesses in the area, bolstering cooperation within the community and keeping the local economy strong.

The goal is to encourage more of the villagers to shop small and keep their money local. It's a 'neighbors help neighbors' approach.

"Many of the businesses that are run and managed in the community are run by our neighbors, other Tellico villagers," Bogardus said.

That approach is working. Nearly a third of all of Loudon County's economic activity is generated in Tellico Village even though the town only represents a tenth of Loudon County's total population.

Chris Tobin is a local business owner. He runs four businesses in Tellico Village.

"We rely very heavily on the locals within the neighborhoods," Tobin said.

One of his businesses is Toqua Sports Bar and Grill at the Toqua Golf Course. Tobin said the majority of his customers are regulars, meaning they come to eat at least three or four times a week.

"The price and quality of those services and products are comparable to what you find anywhere else," Bogardus said.

Tobin said operating small businesses encouraged him to support his other business neighbors.

"Supporting the businesses supports the village, which supports the amenities. It all stays right here within the community," he said.

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