Great holiday shopping begins right here

Posted: Friday, November 26, 2010

Merchants call today "Black Friday."

Sounds ominous, doesn't it? Used to be pretty scary, actually.

Economics scholars think one of the first references to Black Friday was made in reference to the stock market crash of 1869. Economic hard times; sounds familiar, doesn't it?

About 30 years ago, business journalists and retailers gave it a new meaning -- the day after Thanksgiving when the holiday shopping season began and merchants could finally start putting some black ink back on their ledgers.

Now, for one time in the year, black defines a day of economic success -- profits.

Sounds good to us. Let's start spreading some around here.

The Soldotna Chamber of Commerce has resurrected its "Get Into Your Neighbor's Business" buy local campaign for the holiday season. We all know the routine, and it's a good one.

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, the Soldotna Chamber estimates 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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