I moved to Melbourne with my husband a year ago from New Orleans. The opportunity came upon us like a lightning strike, fast and furious, and we were filled with a sensation of sudden awakening, a new path and we threw ourselves headfirst into our next adventure. Not surprisingly, the frenzy quickly diminished when we discovered life here was going to be at Melbourne’s pace. I started to ask myself; what have we gotten into? What will be my purpose here? Within months I took a position at the Melbourne Regional Chamber, a 95-year old organization dedicated to the growth and prosperity of a vibrant Melbourne business community. This is the kind of job you look forward to every day, you take pride in, you feel you make a difference, your work matters.

I have lived all over the country and nowhere else has filled me with a sense of community, purpose, and hope more than Melbourne, Florida. Although I am part of a growing newcomer population, Melbourne and the residents have embraced me with a warmth and kindness that can only be found on the Space Coast. What does it mean when I say I live and work in Melbourne? It means I found a place I call home.

Over the last few months, our lives have changed, and we are all trying to find our new normal as we navigate the recovery process. Melbourne can and will get through this time by supporting each other-especially the heart of our community; our local businesses.

These businesses are owned by our neighbors, they employ our neighbors, find ways to give back, and they create the unique fabric of our community. Now,

it is our turn. We must support them by dining, shopping, and spending local. Why do I spend local? By choosing local and independent businesses, I not only enjoy a more personal experience, I know I help:


The casual encounters enjoyed at neighborhood–scale businesses and the public spaces around them build relationships and community cohesiveness. They are the ultimate social networking sites!


Each dollar we spend at independent businesses returns 3 times more money to our local economy than one spent at a chain and almost 50 times more than buying from an online mega-retailer— a benefit we can all bank on.


Independent businesses help give our community its captivating personality.


Independent, community-serving businesses are people-sized. They typically consume less land, carry more locally made products, located closer to residents, and create less traffic and air pollution.


More efficient land use and more central locations mean local businesses put less demand on our roads, sewers, and safety services. They also generate more tax revenue per sales dollar. The bottom line: a greater percentage of local independent businesses keep our taxes lower.


The multiplier effect created by spending locally generates lasting impact on the prosperity of local Melbourne organizations and residents.


Not only do independent businesses employ more people directly per dollar of revenue, they are also the customers of local printers, accountants, wholesalers, farms, attorneys, etc., expanding opportunities for other local entrepreneurs.


Small businesses donate more than twice as much per sales dollar to local nonprofits, events, and teams compared to big businesses.


Local ownership of business means residents with roots in the community are involved in key development decisions that shape our lives and local economic environment.

The recent pandemic has caused many of our beloved Melbourne businesses to close until further notice or adapt to a new way of serving this community, leaving their future uncertain. If we want local businesses to survive, every purchase counts now more than ever. I encourage you to chose local fi rst and support our community that we all call home.

The Spend Local Melbourne campaign is a joint eff ort of the City of Melbourne, Melbourne Regional Chamber, Melbourne Main Street, Eau Gallie Arts District, and Orlando Melbourne International Airport (MLB). They are working together to help promote Melbourne's businesses and encourage area consumers to spend local.


For more information on how you can help visit: www.spendlocalmelbourne.com or visit @SpendLocalMelbourne on Facebook.