Editorial: Shop local

Doing your Christmas shopping in town has always been a good idea. The proliferation of year-round shops on MDI and the myriad of craft fairs and related events make it especially convenient this season.

Keeping more of your money in your local economy, as distinct from spending it with an online retailer or national chain, breathes vitality into your downtown. Most of the money spent at locally owned businesses stays in the community. Your in-town shopping is an affirmation of what makes your community special.

When you shop local you help create or maintain local employment for students, teachers, firefighters, police officers and other essential professions.

And, as our environmentally conscious neighbors remind us, buying locally means less packaging, plastic peanuts and product cushioning. Buying closer to home means less fuel for trips to the mall.

If you’ve ever been involved with a nonprofit organization, you know that local business owners with whom you have a relationship donate to community causes far more often and more generously than chains. They hire local teens, buy ads in the yearbook and greet you by name when you come in to browse.

Shopping at local businesses instead of online ensures that your Christmas spending will be reinvested where it belongs — in your community. Your locally owned businesses are staffed by individuals with a vested interest in serving you well. They know their products and stand prepared to answer your questions. They hope you will keep coming back so that they can keep demonstrating the creativity and entrepreneurship the American economy is founded on.

Merchants’ associations and chambers of commerce work to make their communities a destination. The more interesting and varied the shops, restaurants and professional services, the more we will attract new neighbors, visitors and guests. This benefits everyone.

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