For the holidays, buying local a gift that keeps giving

Just in case you’ve missed the hoopla leading up to today, it’s Black Friday. Today’s the day we kick off the holiday shopping season in earnest, and a day on which merchants are hopeful of putting themselves in the black for the year.

Two developments have added to Black Friday in recent years. Cyber Monday is now part of the holiday blitz — the Monday after Thanksgiving when online retailers see a surge in shoppers clicking the “buy now” button.

Closer to home — in fact, right in our community — we’re hoping for a similar response to Small Business Saturday. The goal of the day is to draw local shoppers’ attention to all that our local businesses have to offer. It’s a reminder that when you purchase something locally, you walk out of the store with more than just a piece of merchandise.

Money you spend with local merchants gets circulated in the community. That money supplies wages and benefits for hundreds of local employees, which they turn around and put right back into the economy. Dozens of local merchants annually take some of their profits and turn those back to the community, too, in the form of support for dozens of non-profit organizations that benefit local residents.

Add to that the transportation economics of getting merchandise to the Peninsula. Buying locally means bulk transportation jobs, too.

In fact, it is estimated that money spent locally produces a seven-fold return right back to the community.

Certainly the lure of goods and services outside our region is tempting. And shopping online has become ubiquitous. Sometimes the urge to roam — up the highway or digitally — seems almost irresistible.

So, let’s all try an exercise this holiday shopping season. Take a look at your gift list and put a check mark beside every item you know you can find right around where you live. Then, put a question mark beside those items you think you could find here at home with a little effort. Ask your friends and neighbors, and even your local merchants, about the question mark items.

We have a hunch you’ll find most of what you’re looking for right down the street or across town.

 

In short: Shop local for the holidays and see great things happen for the community.

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