When you go shopping, do you think about the local impact your dollars are making?More and more, we are learning that where we spend our money is an important part of stimulating the local economy. For example, according to a study conducted in Austin, Texas by Civics Economics, for every $100 spent at a local book store, $45 stayed in Austin. And for every $100 spent at a typical Borders chain store, only $13 went back into local circulation. Therefore, as we get tighter with what we spend our dollars on, it makes sense to think about where we are shopping as well.It is understandable that shopping locally strengthens your community. Individual businesses purchase more goods and services from other local businesses than chains. They employ local accountants, hire local graphic artists, and purchase materials from local suppliers. Local business owners also support community activities and groups, sponsor local sports teams, and tend to be active in community affairs.In addition, locally owned businesses are often located in walkable downtown areas, often in historic buildings, rather than located in isolated, parking lot-surrounded mega structures that are only accessible by car. As a result, local businesses are a vital component to revitalizing historic commercial areas. This gives our communities diversity and helps towns retain their uniqueness and authenticity while encouraging local innovation and creativity.One great way to learn about the great local shops that are located in the Tampa Bay area is to go to LocalShops1, a website with the area's largest network of local, independent businesses and independent-minded shoppers. In addition to listing and promoting local businesses and non-profits, LocalShops1 has now launched the 1 Card which offers discounts at many area shops. Historic Shed is proud to be a participant in the LocalShops1 efforts and will offer monthly specials for 1 Card carriers.For more reasons to shop locally, please see this well-thought out blog post on the benefits of shopping locally.