Make local merchants very merry

Published 12:04 am Sunday, November 23, 2008

This week traditionally marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, with “Black Friday” being the huge focus.

Day-after Thanksgiving Day sales have been a fixture in American retailers’ worlds for years. But this year, all eyes will be looking at the first few days of the Christmas shopping season as an indication of what’s to come, not just with the Christmas season, but with the consumer economy as a whole.

With the global economy stammering to stay fully upright — mostly shocked by a lack of confidence in the markets — this year will be critical to small and large businesses.

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We have for decades and decades preached shopping at home. The Chamber of Commerce will tout the message in ads soon, no doubt.

We do so not to nag, but to point out that your spending at home matters — a lot.

If each of us spent all or at least the majority of our holiday shopping dollars with local businesses this year, our community could make its collective Christmas all the more merry.

From helping merchants to stay afloat, pay taxes and pay their employees to the precious sales taxes our cities need to survive, all would be affected positively.

Shopping at home can be a pain. For many busy consumers shopping online or by catalog is much more convenient than packing up and heading into the stores.

But what’s convenient today may ultimately prove painful tomorrow. If local businesses are not flourishing, our community won’t flourish either.

It all begins with each of us making a personal decision to make a difference in our community — with our wallets.