Recently, Small Business Saturday has joined Black Friday as the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. We put forth that perhaps this holiday be known as Community Saturday to urge shoppers to patronize their own local businesses first.
Step away from the digital devices for a while and return to the old tradition of spending your hard-earned money where you earn it — locally. Internet shopping sites already are among the largest companies in the world, and pouring money into their coffers does nothing for our local economy, unless you count the extra miles on the ubiquitous UPS and Fed-Ex trucks needed to deliver our purchases.
Local businesses employ family, our friends and our neighbors. They pay their taxes here. They buy gas and groceries here. They live here, as we do. When they do well, their growing businesses put more money back into the community.
Another new-ish tradition is Giving Tuesday, moving end-of-year charitable giving up a few weeks so shoppers can give donations as gifts, buy gift memberships or offer other support. While they don’t pay property taxes, our many local nonprofit organizations also support good jobs and do important work.
Playing even a small part in helping our local craftspeople, retail shop owners, farm stands and other businesses supports our own tax base, which pays for our local roads, our teachers, our hospitals and our social support network. Amazon.com does not support any of these valuable daily resources with the money you send to them.
Shopping locally may take a bit more effort — you will have to get off the couch — but you’ll find great gift ideas and nice experiences with people you know and may want to know better. A stronger sense of community awaits.
Rewards require investment, effort. A small investment in shopping locally pays larger dividends than you realize. And helps our entire community.