Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Benefits of Shopping at Local Businesses

This year, in addition to the regular Black Friday deals, major emphasis was placed on a fairly new shopping holiday known as Small Business Saturday. The event, created by American Express, was first celebrated in 2010 to encourage consumers to shop locally with small businesses on occasion, rather than allocating all their holiday shopping money to “big box retail” stores or e-commerce on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The hype surrounding shopping local is not entirely unfounded. There are benefits to shopping at locally-owned businesses. By shopping at locally-owned businesses, jobs are created and there is more tax revenue, which provides a boost for the national and local economies while lowering the unemployment rate.  There have been many studies showing that spending your money with a local business has more of an economic impact than shopping with nonlocal companies. Many local business owners create a circle of money exchange by using local lawyers, accountants, etc. as a way to “pay back” the local community, whereas large chain stores tend to outsource their work. The belief is that if the money is kept within the community, then the community benefits. The local community also reaps the benefits of locally-owned businesses paying local taxes. Locally-owned businesses are also much more likely to donate to local organizations, schools, charities and other community groups.
When shopping in a local mom-and-pop-style shop, the focus is on the customer, because small businesses have more invested in the relationship with consumers. Over the past fiscal year, Precision Language & Graphics has seen a drastic increase in local sales. Some companies in the Chicagoland area, such as Kyowa Hakko Chemical Americas, TableCraft, Hydraforce, Koshin Americas and many others, have reached out to us for linguistic support. PLG was more than happy to supplement their multilingual needs while providing the more personal experience they were looking for. These companies all received personal visits from members of the PLG team where we were able to build a relationship prior to even starting a project for them. The personal touch that local businesses provide to their products or services is simply immeasurable.

To learn more about the local businesses that have worked with PLG and read about their thoughts on working with a locally-owned business, check out this month’s project highlight at

Christmas Time in Strasbourg, France

Many Europeans and people all over the world flock to the city of Strasbourg, France to witness what Christmas is like for this Eastern French city of 440,000 people. From November 26 to December 31st, the whole city goes up in lights and Christmas decorations, and merchants around the city put up outdoor kiosks throughout the city. It is the largest and oldest in France, dating back to the middle ages. In the local Alsatian dialect, based off of the German language, it is called the "Klausenmärik" or the "Saint Nicholas Market".

The possession of Strasbourg has gone back and forth between the French and the German so the mixture of both cultures can be most evidently seen in this city. Both German and French architecture decorate the city, and both languages are often spoken throughout. The Christmas tree, which became popular during the middle ages, has its roots in Alsace. It consisted of a fir tree covered with apples that represented the tree of paradise. Eventually, the custom of the fir tree conquered other regions of the world, including the United States. Small fir trees can be seen illuminated throughout the city, hanging off the walls or on window balconies.

As I walked through the city of Strasbourg, I could smell the aromas of "pain d'épices," a spiced bread pastry most associated with Christmas in Eastern France, or "vin chaud," spiced Christmas wine. The combination of both was intoxicating. If you are still hungry, "choucroute," an Alsatian specialty that involves dressing Sauerkraut with sausages, is probably your best option.

After a long day of shopping for local gems, the best way to finish off the day is by heading over to the center of the city to see the largest Christmas tree in Europe, towering over the roofs of Place Kerber. Enjoy looking at the tree while eating some "marrons chauds" (roasted chestnuts) and listening to some local Alsatian music played live in the square.

Project Highlight: PLG Goes Local in 2011

PLG’s local-client list has grown exponentially over the past year. It is truly a pleasure working with our neighbors, mainly because of the opportunity for personal interaction. We value each and every one of our clients, but there is a special bond that is formed when establishing a face-to-face rapport. All of our local clients have received personal visits from members of our PLG team, and we love that they can count on us as a supplier and colleague.

PLG has international clients, including: Walmart, Michaels Stores, Sears and K-Mart. Yet, our focus for the coming year is to continue fueling our local clientele’s global communication efforts. Some of our local clients include HydraForce, Inc. (Lincolnshire), Koshin America Corp. (Schaumburg), Sugino Corp. (Itasca), TableCraft Products Company (Gurnee) and TAO Trading, Inc. (Chicago), to name a few.

Below you will find some kind words that our local clients have shared in regards to their experience with PLG:

“I truly appreciate your great service and the excellent work provided by PLG.”

“Anytime discussion of translations comes up, I automatically think of PLG.”

“Thanks again for your help with this. You can’t imagine how helpful it is to have a translation service so close and convenient.”

“Thank you so much for your attention to our project. We appreciate the extra mile you have gone!”

“You have a customer for life!”

That being said, have a wonderful holiday, and we hope to hear from you soon!

The PLG Reader is powered by