Supporting Local Businesses this Holiday Season

Shop LocalNow that Halloween has passed, we are starting to once again be reminded that the gluttony of holiday shopping is just around the corner. Already my Facebook wall is full of memes and commentary from my friends about where they will and won’t shop on Black Friday. However, there is a larger and much more important question at stake when it comes to where to do your shopping for the holidays. In a time when rural communities are threatened by unemployment, out migration, and job loss, where we spend our hard earned dollars counts more than ever.

We know that small firms (less than 500 employees) account for 67% of the net number of new jobs. Let me emphasize what you just read. Net new jobs. Even if we are not looking at new jobs, according to the United States Small Business Administration small businesses account for 55% of all jobs in the US.

As if that were not enough of a reason to support small businesses, study after study has shown that revenues generated by small businesses tend to stay in the local community in the form of jobs and wages that then flow back into the economy in the form of purchasing power. The amount in question is not small. One study from Utah saw on average only 14% of revenues at big box stores such as Walmart or Target remain in the community compared to 52% of revenues from small, local businesses. Even greater disparity exists in the restaurant industry, where local restaurants recirculated 79% of their revenues locally compared to 30% of chain eateries. So when you are out shopping and you stop to eat at that mom and pop diner, almost 80% of what you spend gets re-spent locally.

There are three main ways that money spent locally flows back into the local economy. We call this the Multiplier Effect. The first type is what is called a Direct Impact. A Direct Impact is when a business makes a purchase from another local business in the form of inventory, supplies, services, employee wages, or utilities. The second type of impact is an Indirect Impact. This is when the dollars that local business spent at another local business get spent AGAIN in the local economy. The third type of multiplier is called Induced Impact. This is when those local people who were paid by the local business spend their money in the local economy.

SBA Shop SmallUnderstanding this flow is key to understanding why it is so imperative to shop locally and support small businesses this holiday season. Money has to flow through the economy to keep a community strong, and it flows best when it is spent locally. So this holiday season, I hope you join me in supporting your local Main Street!

(Submitted by Laura Fuller, County Extension Educator, Noble County & Buckeye Hills EERA)

Sustainable Tourism in Rural Communities — After the Energy Boom

What do we know about tourism in rural communities?

In many rural communities, tourism is a major sector of economic activity. It is in a strategic position to make a positive contribution to the sustainable development of rural communities and serve as a successful community development model. But how do we get at that benefit?

How can tourism progress in a sustainable way as a tool of development?

This question may seem to have an easy answer but can be challenging to resolve. This is especially apparent in Eastern Ohio. A recent influx of energy development in Eastern Appalachian Ohio has increased occupancy of hotels. In addition to the 95% occupancy rate, developers have built new hotels. This creates another question, how to maintain and sustain the tourism industry in rural Ohio?

Bed TaxA case study was conducted of a county in Eastern Appalachian Ohio with a population of 42,000. In this community where 13 hotels are located, five have been built in the past three years. With the increased capacity and occupancy of hotels has come an increase in the bed tax. This year a decline has begun in the bed tax due in large part to the reduction in energy exploration.


What is this community doing to sustain tourism now that there is a drop in revenue?

  1. Developed a long term plan for sustainability
  2. Prioritized and narrowed focus of two achievable goals
  3. Developed steps with an action plan to achieve the goals

If you would like more information about this or other related research, please contact Cynthia Bond at

(Submitted by Cynthia Bond, Assistant Professor and County Extension Educator, Guernsey County & Crossroads EERA)

Leaking Lake Erie Shipwreck Discovered

Ohio Sea Grant’s take on the wreck of the Argo

Argo Shipwreck 2015

(U.S. Coast Guard photo courtesy of Station Marblehead)

What was discovered?

A shipwreck was discovered via side scan sonar on August 28, 2015 by Tom Kowalczk from Cleveland Underwater Explorers. The measurements and general location of the wreck appear to match the Argo, a barge which sank October 20, 1937.

While further exploring the wreck October 23, 2015, Kowalczk noticed oily droplets on the surface of the water and a smell of solvent. An overflight by the Coast Guard Air Station Detroit on October 24, observed a 400-yard discoloration on the water, but a second flight on October 25 was unable to locate any discoloration.

What is leaking? Is it hazardous to humans?

Exactly what is leaking is unknown at this point, but the Argo was believed to have been carrying 4,762 barrels (over 200,000 gallons) – half benzol (a coal-tar product containing benzene and toluene) and half crude oil.

The Coast Guard has set up a regulatory safe zone, meaning boats are not to enter the area, with a 1,000 foot radius around the location of the wreck, primarily to avoid human exposure to any fumes. The coordinates of the zone are broadcast continuously on marine radio.

Did the government know about the ship’s existence and make a plan for what to do if it leaked?

NOAA knew of the wreck of the Argo and that due to its cargo, it was a risk for leaking oil. The Argo was identified as the shipwreck with the greatest pollution potential in the Great Lakes region. A March 2013 report, written when the exact location of the wreck was still unknown, recommended use of surveys to attempt to locate the vessel, along with ongoing outreach efforts with the local dive community and fishermen so officials would be made aware of any changes in the site.

Does the leak pose a threat to drinking water or wildlife?

Coast Guard officials told the Toledo Blade that, as of October 26, 2015, the leak poses no threat to drinking-water supplies or to nearby aquatic life.

What steps are being taken to secure the leak and mitigate any harm to the environment?

The Coast Guard is overseeing an effort to identify and secure the leak, and is taking steps to ensure the safety of responders within the regulatory safety zone.

“The U.S. Coast Guard deals with pollution response in the maritime environment all over the country,” says Ohio Sea Grant’s Sarah Orlando, Ohio Clean Marinas program manager. “They know what to do in this type of situation.”

Where can I learn more about Lake Erie shipwrecks?

Lake Erie is home to a number of shipwrecks, many with historical significance. Ohio Sea Grant Extension Educator Joe Lucente helps run the website Shipwrecks & Maritime Tales of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail at, which has detailed information on the history of wrecks, including maps of confirmed wrecks.

“This just goes to show how many shipwrecks – even near-shore wrecks – there are that we don’t know about,” Lucente says. “Without groups like Cleveland Underwater Explorers giving their time, money and resources, we wouldn’t know about them.”

CLUE donated many of the pictures featured at, Lucente says (in a downloadable full-color brochure featuring maps and history of 28 Lake Erie shipwrecks).

For a list of additional resources and the complete article originally published on October 27, 2015, go to:

Ohio State University’s Ohio Sea Grant Program is part of NOAA Sea Grant, a network of 33 Sea Grant programs dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of marine and Great Lakes resources. For more information, visit

(Submitted by Joe Lucente, Assistant Professor and Extension Educator, Ohio Sea Grant Program)