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Shop locally this holiday season




The Christmas season has begun. While some say it began a week or longer ago -- some big-box shoppers may have found themselves dodging Christmas trees while picking out their Halloween costumes -- we know it really began this week in Columbus. Our evidence: Shop keepers were updating their decor with Christmas decorations, setting the stage for Main Street''s Open House this weekend. 


The annual Open House, which runs today through Sunday, features discounts, specials and promotions in downtown businesses. Local stores are discounting merchandise. Store owners and workers have been busy this week festooning their shops with holiday decor. 


The weekend isn''t just a Main Street thing -- shops across town, and across the Golden Triangle, are discounting merchandise and running specials on this, the first real Christmas shopping weekend of the year. 


Retailers are getting serious about discounting amid what have been a terrible couple of holiday shopping seasons. In 2008, holiday retail sales declined 3.9 percent. In 2009, sales flatlined -- an increase of less than half a percent, according to National Retail Federation estimates. 


The national group expects a 2.3 percent rebound this year, and retailers are helping shoppers along with deals and discounts that seem to come ever-earlier. 


Many of us are keeping a tight watch on our wallets this year, as we continue to slog through this recession. We ask our readers that when they do shop, to shop locally. Come downtown to the Open House this weekend, and visit other shops in Columbus. Keep your dollars in Columbus -- you''re getting hometown service and great products, helping local business owners, and paying tax dollars that help pave our streets and keep our city humming. 


Thanks, and hit those stores -- after all, there are only 50-odd shopping days before Christmas.



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