I've never been a "Black Friday" shopper, and this year I won't even be in the country for Thanksgiving or the ensuing retail frenzy, but if I were in town I'd be trying to patronize the local businesses who are the lifeblood of our communities.
As Philip Brewer wrote on the Wise Bread blog today
Market forces don't trump everything, but they trump a lot. When the big-box stores have everything you want and at a better price, it takes a certain kind of quixotic determination to shop local businesses instead.
Plenty of people have that quixotic determination in some measure and do shop at local businesses. And there are plenty of good reasons to do so:
- Local stores are usually closer (rather than out at the edge of town).
- Local stores are likely to have a selection that reflects the tastes of the local community (rather than whatever the corporate buyers think will make highest profit nationwide).
- Local stores are much more likely to be environmentally friendly than the globalized producers. (After all, any environmental harm they cause affects their customers — and happens where their customers can see it.)
- The people running the local store are much more likely than some minimum-wage big-box drone to care about how well your purchase works out for you.
- Money paid at a local store is much more likely to stay local.
The Wise Bread post goes on to articulate many other reasons to buy goods that are produced and sold locally, and preferably from recycled or re-used material, but even if you don't "buy" the environmental and social reasons for thinking local when it comes to your holiday shopping there are some compelling reasons to do so.
As Chair-elect of our local Chamber of Commerce I see every day how hard our members work to deliver quality goods and service at an acceptable price, and how fierce the competition from the big box stores down the road really is.
As a citizen concerned about local services I know how vital the sales tax revenue is to our cities and counties and I also can see what happens to shopping districts and neighborhoods when local businesses aren't able to survive.
As Library Director and involved community member I kow how much our local non-profit organizations rely on our local businesses for support from auction items to donations to event sponsorships and advertisements in our programs and publications.
So, as I head off on vacation and some of you head out for your holiday shopping, please THINK LOCAL!