(Cindy Chew/S.F.Examiner)

This season, let’s keep our money local

When it comes to shopping and dining, consumers always have unlimited options. However, this holiday season, I am challenging residents, visitors, and businesses to join me for Shop & Dine in the 49 and do all their shopping and dining within the 49 square miles of San Francisco.

Last week, we kicked off the Shop & Dine in the 49 initiative, which focuses on bringing spending back into our diverse neighborhoods. By shopping, eating, drinking and playing in our neighborhoods, we ensure these unique corridors remain thriving, successful, and vibrant.

Every dollar spent at local businesses in San Francisco directly supports jobs and our local economy. San Francisco has more than 90,000 businesses, including more than 7,700 restaurants, cafes, food stores, and beverage establishments that employ approximately 100,000 local residents. A 1 percent increase in spending at restaurants and retailers would generate an additional $100 million into our economy.

For residents and visitors, you can participate in my challenge by tagging a picture or selfie of you, your friends or family shopping at your favorite local business on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with #shopdine49. The winning submission will be selected to join me to go shopping at a local business.

You are also encouraged to attend any Shop & Dine in the 49 events and discover our many local, diverse neighborhood gems. And look for the Shop & Dine in the 49 decal in store windows throughout The City and enjoy great offers from participating businesses.

Businesses can also be part of the campaign. You can put up a Shop & Dine in the 49 window decal at your business. Contact your merchant association or community benefit district to get your decal or contact the Office of Economic and Workforce Development at oewd@sfgov.org.

The Shop & Dine in the 49 initiative will extend beyond the holiday season and into the year and continue to challenge residents and consumers to celebrate all occasions by shopping at local businesses. The challenge will also include a business-to-business campaign that encourages local companies to purchase locally made and grown products, services, and other goods.

Join me for Shop & Dine in the 49 by visiting www.shopdine49.com and let's support and help our local businesses thrive and prosper throughout the holiday season by shopping, eating, drinking, and playing in our own neighborhoods.

Ed Lee is the mayor of San Francisco.

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