The Daily Star
---- — Like the relentless drone of the Salvation Army bell-ringer or the unending round of Christmas carols, the exhortation to “shop local” risks becoming yet another part of the holidays we tune out.
But like that poor bell-ringer, who represents a very worthy cause, we think “shop local” is a concept that deserves our attention.
Rather than dispensing the usual platitudes, then, let’s take a closer look at why this is worth our time, energy and money.
Why shop locally?
1. It’s being a good neighbor.
Our communities are small enough that each of us can make a difference between failure and success for local retailers. When we spend money at a local business, we’re voting with our pocketbook and saying, “We want you around.” We’re putting food on the tables of our neighbors, and we’re sending a message that this particular little slice of the American dream is still alive and well. And if that doesn’t say “Merry Christmas” to you, well, you just might want to check and see if your heart is two sizes too small.
2. It’s relaxing.
You don’t see a lot of news about people getting trampled to death at a Main Street storefront. No, when you visit a locally owned business, even those that are bustling and thriving, the pace of commerce is usually a little bit slower, more friendly, more humane. It doesn’t leave you feeling deprived of oxygen and slightly murderous. It may even leave you feeling good. Imagine that: feeling good after Christmas shopping. What a concept!
3. It’s ethical
Price is one big thing that drives us to the big-box stores. We believe that we will get a “better deal” at a major retailer than we will from an independent business. But think about what makes those lower prices possible. More often than not, our savings represents someone else’s painfully low wages. Not such a great deal when you think of it that way.
4. It encourages us to examine our priorities
It’s true that you might not be able to get the latest videogame or electronic device from a locally owned retailer. But it’s worth asking ourselves if we are chasing that “hot” item because it is really the best gift we can give, or if it’s just because we’ve been told how “hot” it is. The most memorable and meaningful gift for someone we love may not be the same thing that thousands of other people will be unwrapping on Christmas morning.
“Shop local” is more than just another tired phrase. It’s an opportunity to make a difference in our communities. We hope you will join us in supporting local businesses this holiday season.