Archived Story

Shop Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays

Published 11:13pm Friday, December 2, 2011

Leigh Anne Windham didn’t have a good experience on Cyber Monday.

“I really don’t like to do any shopping online,” she said earlier this week. “But there were two things that I thought I’d look at.

“It was crazy. By the time I finally found them and got through the process, they were sold out.”

Frustrated, she clicked off her computer and strengthened her resolve.

“I can find everything I need for my Christmas shopping here,” she said. “And that’s what I do.”

Granted Windham understands the importance of shopping at home more than the average resident. As membership director of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, she knows how important it is to support local businesses.

But she wasn’t wearing her Chamber hat when she was talking about her decision to shop local – one that she’s embraced for years.

She was simply a mom, a wife, a daughter, a friend who had presents to buy and a choice in how she spent her time and money.

And the “local” philosophy is one that more and more people are embracing. The sense of “local” is growing stronger every day, from the growing locavore movement encouraging us to eat foods grown and produced locally to the fledgling “Small Business Saturday” national campaign which urged shoppers to turn to their local small businesses on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. “Just one purchase can make a difference,” the national ads urged.

And they were right. Understanding and appreciating the value of small businesses – of local businesses – is a welcome benefit of our nation’s economic “realignment.” More and more consumers understand the importance of spending wisely, investing in their communities and their neighbors’ successes.

You’ve heard the oft-shared benefits of shopping local, but they’re worth repeating:

1. Dollars you spend locally support vital public services in our town and county.

2. Our community is unique, and our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of our distinctive character. Local ownership ensures that important decisions are made locally by people who live in the community and who will feel the impacts of those decisions.

3. You can grow a relationship with you local merchants. They can get to know you, and cater to your preferences.

4. Local merchants care about and invest in you community. They donate part of your dollars back to local groups and charities.

5. Your local purchases support local jobs. Pike County’s unemployment rate is among the lowest in the state, and we like to keep it that way.

6. When you shop at one local merchant, you’re supporting a whole host of other business. Banks, restaurants and other business cluster around our local shops.

7. Local shops are more accessible for everyone. This is especially important for elderly, vulnerable and young people and those without transport.

8. You save money by shopping at home. You drive less, save time, and you’d be surprised how often the retail prices are lower, too.

9. You can reduce your environmental impact by cutting out those long drives to the big city.

10. Your purchases help our towns attract new entrepreneurs and skilled workers. Towns that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character are more successful in recruiting.

But more than anything there’s the satisfaction that comes from knowing you’re not just shopping, you’re investing: in your hometown and its future.

So when you here that familiar holiday refrain, think of this: Ho, Ho, Home for the Holidays.

Stacy Graning is publisher of The Messenger. Email her at stacy.graning@troymessenger.com.

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