Original photo: Shopping at The Sparrow Mercantile | Nick Kogos | Visit Durango

Ready or not, Valentine’s Day is upon us. It may be surprising to some but this seemingly minor holiday in the middle of February has a major impact on our nation’s economy. Retailers, large and small, are preparing across the country to help folks mark the holiday in a memorable and meaningful way. According to the National Retail Federation, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to reach $25.9 billion this year, jumping up from the 23.9 billion in 2022. Online stores and national chains receive the bulk of that spending with 17% of shoppers reporting they plan to shop for Valentine’s Day at a local business.

Shopping at Twilight Toys | Visit Durango

As a Localist, you understand the powerful impact we create with the daily choices we make and the money we spend. When we shift our spending to regularly support local and independent businesses, we are choosing to invest in the prosperity of our communities and the health of our planet.

Locally owned businesses strengthen our local economy, way of life, and well-being. They re-circulate 85% more money back into our communities compared to online giants or national chains. They vote in local elections, sponsor local programs, take part in more sustainable practices, and engage in local issues we all care about. What’s more, according to the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, Colorado’s small businesses employ 47.6% of our state’s workforce.

Whether you’re planning a special night out or marking the occasion with treats passed around the office, share the love with our local, independent businesses. That love you show today will circle back for years to come. Find ways to eat, buy, and love local by flipping through this year’s Be Local Coupon Book or by browsing Local First’s business directory!

Take a deeper dive into the data collected by the National Retail Federation and use their interactive charts to explore a breakdown of total spending, items folks are purchasing, and where they are shopping.