Thanksgiving is over, now Christmas is coming. Despite the annual protestations that the holidays have become too commercialized, let's face it -- we continue, and will continue to shop for the holidays.
Please support your local businesses this season. Lighted store windows and occupied storefronts make a richer, more vibrant community, but we depend on you. We require you to become more engaged, and to put in a little more effort, and there are very good reasons why you should:
- Economy. Retail is, quite literally, bread and butter for local merchants, their families and staff. The money you spend here will stay here to support those businesses and their employees.
- Community. We live, work and shop in our communities. Chances are we support your place of work. We too support this community.
- Character. Shopping locally keeps your community unique. Store window and awnings, curbside tables and choice of music... compare this to the monolithic facade of the national chain.
- Public good. Better use of your tax dollars. Local businesses in town or neighborhood centers require comparatively little infrastructure investment and make more efficient use of public services as compared to nationally owned stores entering the community.
- Meaning. Local stores specialize in what they do, and, if you share their passion, you will find products that don't just take up space, but fit into and enhance your life in a meaningful way.
- Choice. Buy what you want, not what the megastore merchandising department wants you to buy. Small stores may not have the display and storage space for everything, but many are able to special order the specific items you want.
- Less waste. While specialty items may seem to cost a little more, overall, you will spend less money by getting the right thing right away. And you won't have to fall for "gift sets".
- Selection. Local stores have gifts for all needs and budgets, from stocking stuffers to jaw-droppers.
- Savings. You will save time and gas money by staying in your neighborhood.
- Health. You will avoid stress of overcrowded parking lots, and possibly even get some exercise if you walk to local stores.
- You. Local businesses know you. You'll get a cup of freshly brewed coffee, served by a person who knows just how you like it. Bread that was baked with character this very morning. Aisles of books that smell like books and have prices discreetly penciled on the inside of the back cover. Clothes that have outlived their usefulness for someone, but are just the thing you need to liven up your wardrobe. The store clerk who greets you by your first name. The mechanic who understands the inner workings of your vehicle. Bicycles that fulfill your dreams of independent travel...
- People. People who care whether you come in or not. Who take pride in their workmanship, or the service they provide. Who help create the culture of the community. People who believe that how well they do their job will affect how well your day goes.