The holiday season is here, and you can make a positive economic impact by supporting local businesses. We offer five solutions that will benefit both you and Maui businesses.
First, you can find great gifts for family and friends by "Buying Maui First" when shopping this season. When you do, you keep your hard-earned dollars circulating in our community; help local businesses stay in business; create opportunities for business growth and job generation; preserve available product and service options; and strengthen community bonds through visitation and social interaction. Not to mention that shopping for others is so much fun!
Second, look for the Made In Maui label. We all know Maui is no ka oi (the best), and Maui's local artisans and manufacturers enhance this reputation by creating high-quality, value-added products that feature the beauty and bounty of Maui. In the spirit of aloha, they provide cherished items that are loved by residents and visitors alike. When you see the "Made In Maui" label, you are assured that the product is truly Maui made by local hands and hearts. You can show and share your aloha spirit by giving a Made In Maui gift.
Third, buy The Maui News. Not only will you get to read this column, you will be informed about business, community, state and world issues and see all of the fantastic deals being offered by local businesses and residents.
Fourth, give the gift of chamber membership. Do you know someone that has just started a new business? Have you not yet joined yourself? The cost is only $288 per year for a company with five or fewer employees and only goes up an additional $9 for each employee beyond five. It is a cost-effective solution that offers many benefits to business owners and their employees, including:
* Legislative advocacy and economic action to support our mission of creating an improved economic climate for businesses.
* Business networking.
* Education and training.
* Resource connections and business solutions.
* News and information on business and community matters.
* Member promotion.
* Advertising and sponsorship opportunities.
* Civic engagement.
In addition, the chamber works to create a more business-friendly environment so that businesses can thrive and needed jobs result. This is critically important, especially when our Legislature seeks to raise taxes or impose additional workplace mandates that increase the cost of doing business. With growing unfunded liabilities, we expect lawmakers to be looking for additional money again in 2013, with a possible general excise tax hike in the mix. And, the unemployment insurance tax is already slated to go up, from Schedule F to Schedule G, which will increase costs for businesses. We were successful in bringing the unemployment insurance tax down last year and will work to do so again this year, as well as oppose a GET increase because it will hurt both residents and businesses as this is a regressive tax.
Fifth, consider a Maui stay-cation. We work hard here, and it is important to relax and play here as well. Being blessed with so many beautiful properties to choose from, restaurants to satisfy every appetite, and activities to enjoy, take some time to relax, soak in and cherish Maui for a bit. We have the beauty, properties, dining and treasured moments that others long for at our back door. Let us make time to take pleasure in them as well.
Supporting local businesses is good for our economy, more sustainable and helps keep Maui "no ka oi." It is a winning solution that benefits us all.
* Pamela Tumpap is president of the Maui Chamber of Commerce.