Home for the holidays

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 13, 2009

NATCHEZ — With only 13 days left before Christmas, shoppers will spend the next few days finishing off their last-minute gift buying.

And hopefully, local officials say, those shoppers will choose to do so locally.

Holiday shopping causes a economic boon for retailers, and when it is local retailers experiencing that boon, it is good for the entire community, Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce Director Debbie Hudson said.

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“It brings dollars back to (our economy),” Hudson said. “Our local businesses are the backbone of our economy and if we support them by shopping with them, it puts more money back into the local economy.”

The money spent locally is returned to the community not only through sales tax monies, but Hudson also said more business means more employees that have money to contribute to the local economy.

“It is just a winning situation all the way around,” she said.

Vidalia resident Karen Biglane spent a good part of Friday picking up some final items on her Christmas shopping list. She said she shops all year round at local retailers because she understands the importance of supporting a local economy.

Biglane was shopping for her two children and her two children-in-law on Friday.

“Supporting the local economy is important,” she said. “I do my best to shop locally every time I shop.”

Hudson said the community needs more people that understand the impact of shopping at local retailers instead of traveling to Baton Rouge and Jackson.

“Sometimes I think it is a mindset where people believe they need to travel to those places to find the items they want,” Hudson said. “That isn’t true. With our local retailers, people can purchase just about anything they want or need here.

“There may be a few items that aren’t in the area, but the majority of them are.”

With clothing stores, gift and specialty shops, bookstores and a variety of other retailers located within Adams County and Concordia Parish, Hudson said locals have little reason to hit the road for holiday shopping days.

In fact, she said instead of going out of town, locals should invite their friends and family to Natchez to experience the variety of retailers the area has to offer.

Betty Thornhill of Vidalia was shopping for her five grandchildren, all in their 20s, at Belk in Natchez Friday.

She said everyone she purchases gifts for this Christmas can expect them to have been bought locally.

“I don’t travel to shop,” she said. “I do all of my shopping locally and get everything I need.”

Hudson said having more money circulating in the community will allow the community to achieve its goals for bettering life in the Miss-Lou.

She said shopping locally also gives consumers and business owners the chance to get to know each other, creating a greater sense of community pride.

“The first part is bringing dollars back in an economic sense,” Hudson said. “The second part is showing support for the local community through the businesses and the people who own those businesses and work in those businesses.”