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Our View: Christmas shopping: Spread the joy ... locally




Today is Black Friday, traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. Not everyone is a big fan of Black Friday, but if you are anywhere near a big box store or shopping center today, it will surely seem like it. In 2016, an estimated 101 million people went to retail stores on Black Friday with another 25 million shopping at some point during the holiday weekend. 


Meanwhile, online sales last year topped $35 billion over that same long weekend. 


Suffice to say, most of us will be shopping at some point between now and the end of the week. 


That's a good thing, of course. The Christmas shopping season accounts for more than 30 percent of annual retail sales. It is essential to our economy. 


So, shop to your heart's content. 


But we do ask that you please do two things: 


Shop locally-owned stores first. 


As has been noted, shopping at locally owned stores keeps that money circulating in our local economy. The profits do not go off to corporate headquarters in some distant city. They buy homes and cars and groceries and countless other items right here in our community. 


And, if you are looking for a unique gift, you are more likely to find it at a local retailer, whose shelves are often stocked with local crafts. When you buy at a big box store or online, you are shopping in a world of mass-produced products made for the masses. 


But not matter which brick-and-mortar store you choose, your purchases benefit your community in ways you may never had considered. If you like driving on well-paved streets, shop at home. If you think hiring another police officer or firefighter would be helpful, shop at home. If you want well-maintained parks, well-funded schools and all those things that are funded by tax revenues, by all means, please, please shop at home. 


The appeal of online shopping is great. It's convenient. It's fast. It's easy. 


But if you want the money you spend this Christmas season to do the most good for you and your community, there is no better place to shop than right here at home.



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