The S&P 500 posted its best closing ever last Thursday. Just a few weeks before, the Dow hit a record high and announced it had now erased all losses from the Great Recession. Fourteen of the 100 largest cities in the country now have more jobs available than they did before the recession. On average, nationwide home values increased almost 6% year-over year and sales are picking up.

Locally, businesses are seeing customers willing to turn loose of more and more dollars and the economic picture is improving almost daily.

That’s a lot of good news.

So why don’t we hear more about all this? Why aren’t people dancing in the streets and banks issuing loans left and right?

Simple. Old habits die hard.

Lots of people got quite scared during the recession. Some got more than scared - they experienced the pain of job loss and repossessed property. Such brushes with reality can alter habits and can take quite a while to overcome.  Many of us know of, or have heard from, an older relative that lived through the Great Depression. They often hoard money - spending precious little. On the other hand, when they find a bargain, they buy big: shoes on sale for a really great price? They buy six pair because “you never know if you’ll find that kind of a deal again and shoes are always needed.”

While this type of behavior is understandable, it actually slows economic recovery.

Each of us knows someone who has been waiting to buy that new car, waiting to put in new carpet, waiting to install a new and better roof. On what are they waiting? A better feeling about the economy, of course. Still, their waiting slows that good feeling leading to recovery.

We envy the 14 of the top 100 cities where all job losses have been erased. We know those days will come to every community in America again. Until then, however, we must each do our part to keep the economy going and growing.

The best way to do this?

Shop local. Buy local.

Later this month, we’ll help drive this point home by hosting a “shop and spend local day.”  We will encourage (and challenge) every citizen to “spend $30 on April 30” and to spend it at a local place. If only the just-over 30,000 residents of Milton, Pace, East Milton and Jay do this, it will inject more than $1-million into the economy that day.

Small numbers really do add up. America is recovering and we’re ready to jump on that bandwagon. How about you?