Shop local businesses during the holiday season

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Friday after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday” and traditionally is the kickoff for the Christmas shopping season.
Then, comes Saturday — Small Business Saturday — and it is a reminder that during the Christmas season and all year long — it is not only good, but important, that you support the small businesses in your hometown.
Since its 2010 introduction by credit card company American Express and a national small business trade organization, the annual event has been adopted by local governments and small businesses nationwide as a way to bring customers into locally-owned retail stores and restaurants following the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.
Because Black Friday is so focused on big-box stores and crazy deals and is a totally different shopping experience, it’s nice to have a more local, small-minded day that has the same spirit to it. Small Business Saturday is different in the sense that Black Friday is all about deals and quantity over quality, where this day is all about community and holiday cheer.
Big companies like Amazon and Wayfair have made it easier to find deals, shop from home, and get purchases fast. But “easy” oftentimes, comes at a cost later realized. Our local retailers, who we value and want to keep, have been seeing this path to “easy” increase and change their businesses. If we want to have physical retailers who employ local residents, now more than ever, brick and mortar stores need our support.
Why is it important to shop local stores? Small businesses create jobs. They inhabit a piece of the local spirt, providing variety and personality and, friendly faces. Our local businesses boost the economy. They provide a reason for a person to visit our town, dine out and stroll the sidewalks. They’re run by friends and neighbors, people who we attend church with, and oftentimes, family members. They are people who know your name and are interested in you.
Sure, it’s easy to search, click some buttons, pull out a credit card and hope for the best. But we think there’s value in walking into a local store that goes well beyond the immediate purchase.
There’s something special about going into a store, and the owner or an employee greets you by name, knows what prescriptions you have come for, or how you like your coffee, or what your favorite sandwich is. They chat with you about your children, your church, or football. It’s a personal experience.
This is the time of year when people are doing the most shopping, thus the time of year when small businesses can benefit most. We encourage shopping local all year, but we believe it’s especially important to be mindful of this current opportunity to help provide extra dollars and tax receipts to the Elizabethton area. After all, it is these folks that buy ads in high school yearbooks, contribute to church suppers and fundraisers, give to school events, help sponsor Little League games, and promote events with the Covered Bridge Celebration, the weekly car shows, Christmas lights, etc. They are here all year helping our schools, churches, youth, and the entire community. Because they are one of us.
For local businesses, it can be an opportunity to gain new customers, grow sales and carry momentum throughout the holiday shopping season. It’s a great time for business owners to talk and engage with customers in person. Where else will you find that?

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