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- A group of people living in the same locality and under the same government.
- The district or locality in which such a group lives.
- A group of people having common interests.
Twenty-one of Alabama’s 67 counties have a population of less than 20,000 residents, and all but one of them have experienced a population decline over the last decade. Coosa County is ranked 63 out of our 67 counties, with a population of 10,387 as of the 2020 census, down 1,152 citizens from the 11,539 population counted in the 2010 census. People are leaving Coosa County, because the amenities of bigger towns do have their appeal.
Yes, Coosa County is small. There are only 95 employers in the county that employ just 1,085 people. There is no large chain store in the county (except for perhaps the new Dollar General that was recently built near where highways 9 and 22 intersect), so every one of those businesses are probably a “small business.”
These small businesses support the people of our county. They provide goods and services for those who are here locally, and they provide an income for those who live here locally. Parts of that revenue are then reinvested back into our county through the collection of sales taxes and through donations to churches, communities, education, and non-profit organizations.
Here is where I see the problem. …where I live in Equality, most folks here do most of their shopping at either the Wal-Mart in Alexander City or at the Wal-Mart in Wetumpka. Some even go all the way to Montgomery to do some of their shopping. The problem is that none of those places pay taxes back into Coosa County, so the hard-earned dollars of Coosa County’s people are in the end mostly going to support the governments of Alexander City, or Wetumpka, or Tallapoosa County, or Elmore County, all while the infrastructure of Coosa County declines.
According to the American Independent Business Association, 48% of each purchase made in your local independent businesses stays in your community. That is pretty big, especially when compared to the mere 14% from chain stores.
Local businesses are more invested than bigger chain stores. This Christmas season, and all the rest of the year, as well, please consider shopping locally. If enough people do it, and make it a habit, the county will one day be able to invest into better infrastructure, that will lead to more entrepreneurs creating businesses, that create jobs, that create income, that create a better standard of living for everyone who resides in our little slice of this great state.
If nothing else, it will help the owner of a small business to give a Christmas bonus, or to donate to the schools, or fire department, or just stay afloat until our economy recovers from the COVID-19 shutdown.
Like it or not, we live in a community. I like our community. It was why I moved here over two decades ago and why my wife joined me here four years ago. But our community is dying, and with the loss of local revenue, the communities of our county will die, as well. Only you can help keep your community intact and going in order to pass on for the next generation to pick up the mantle and carry the torch forward. …Or you can just let it all die from a financial starvation.