Think local when doing your Christmas shopping

Published 8:43 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

November is almost half over, downtown stores have had their Christmas open house, the Christmas lights are up, and finally, there is a nip in the air, suggesting that we are racing toward the holiday season. Thanksgiving is next week, which means Christmas is only a month away.
The point is, the Christmas shopping season is here. If we haven’t done it, we will soon be making our shopping lists, trying to figure what our children, parents, spouses, along with assorted relatives and friends, want to receive. And, we’ll be dropping subtle hints about what we might want under the tree.
And, if we shop, we’ll be spending money. A lot of money. According to the National Retail Federation, we’ll spend about $717.45 million to $720.89 billion total this holiday season. According to the NRF, each shopper will spend about $1,007.24 apiece.
Make sure, though, when you plan your shopping list and do your shopping, think about where you’ll be shopping. Will you be funneling your dollars to Amazon or a big box retailer? Or, will you be supporting local, Elizabethton-based businesses?
The decision makes a difference. It makes a difference for you. It makes a difference to the businesses, many of which work hard to survive in a shifting retail marketplace. And it makes a difference to the city and state economy, which benefit directly from you keeping your dollars in the community.
When you spend your money with local businesses, a big chunk stays local. Big-box stores like Wal-Mart and mom-and-pop businesses pay taxes — and taxes support our schools and pay for the police who keep us safe and other services we depend upon.
A research firm called Civic Economics reports that for every $100 spent in local businesses, $68 stays in the community if the money is spent at a locally owned small business, and $43 if spent at a local chain store.
Also, by shopping at Elizabethton area businesses, you’re creating jobs. Businesses of every size add jobs to the local economy. It’s not just the clerk in the store or the person who rings up your sale. Local businesses rely on other local businesses. They call a local guy when the furnace goes out, or when the plumbing needs fixing, for example. The people who fill all the jobs created by local businesses earn wages that go back into Elizabethton and Carter County’s economy.
Local businesses not only keep the economy humming, but they also add to the quality of life in our community in other ways. Convenience, for one thing. It’s easier to check out merchandise when the store is a short drive — or even a short walk — away. Seeing local businesses thrive also gives you the feeling that you’re living in a vibrant, growing community, a desirable place to live, work and raise a family.
Local businesses are owned and operated by local folks, and chain stores are managed by folks who live in our community. They go to church here, coach youth sports teams, eat in local restaurants and live just down the street. When you buy in local stores, you’re supporting your neighbors.
Customer service of the kind you thought had disappeared can still be found in the smallest of local businesses.
Shoppers in Elizabethton have plenty of reasons not to stray far for their Christmas shopping.
And buying locally is a gift for us all.

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