The Christmas shopping season begins in earnest later this week, and gift buyers are encouraged to look local first while doing their holiday shopping.
There is no doubt that the internet has changed the retail landscape and—when it comes to brick and mortar stores—not for the better. There are signs of that in almost every large city in America as some of the former giants of retail have closed their doors because enough people seem to prefer to stay home and shop from their electronic devices.
Yet the retail sector of the economy continues to be extremely important to the tax base of smaller communities like the ones in the Tri-County News area. In addition, mom-and-pop stores continue to be the backbone of small-town America.
So this holiday shopping season, make it a point to check out what local businesses have to offer. It is a fact that not everything a person might want is available in every local community, but it also is fact that one of the most repeated phrases uttered by people walking into local businesses is this: “Oh, I didn’t know you had that here or provided that service.” That frustrates business owners because it usually means that local resident has not spent much if any time in that local business.
Yes, a person can buy that tool set for dad online or at a big-box store in a bigger city, but they also can get it at one of the local hardware stores right in the Tri-County News area. The same can be said for Christmas wreaths, favorite coffees, bottles of wine, pet toys, furniture, inspirational home decor, floral arrangements, and literally thousands of other items at several hundred local businesses.
Businesses in local communities really shine when it comes to service, and the vast majority of those businesses offer gift certificates. Not sure what to get that special someone? Give them a local gift certificate for anything ranging from a massage to dance lessons, yoga classes, foot detox, beauty salon services, restaurants and supper clubs, etc.
Local businesses pay taxes to local communities and that works to hold down the amount of taxes residents have to pay. In addition, local businesses employ local people whose paychecks in turn churn dollars through local communities. Look local first this holiday shopping season. —Mark Sherry