Shopping here for Christmas supports more than local stores

Published 12:49 pm Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Now that the Christmas shopping season is in full swing, it’s more important than ever to shop locally, especially in downtown Elizabethton.
Local mom and pop stores have not only had to deal with COVID-19 the past two shopping seasons, but they have had to compete with big box competitors and online shopping for just about any product imaginable. Fed-Ex, UPS, and Amazon trucks make deliveries everyday in almost every local neighborhood.
With the case and proliferation of online shopping, it’s easy to rationalize clicking a button and adding a gift to your Amazon shopping cart. Home delivery is swift, returns are easy and there is a world of choices.
However, it’s always a good idea to shop local during the holiday season. In addition to the obvious, community-minded benefits of supporting your friends and neighbors, there are much-studied boosts that spending your money in town rather than online gives to the local economy. Last year, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic and a case spike in November and December undercut local businesses’ ability to conduct in-person sales in quite the same way as in years past. But this year, the imperative for buying local is stronger than ever, thanks to everyone’s least favorite global trade phenomenon: the broken supply chain.
Spending money at home not only helps local stores and their employees but also generates sales taxes that enable local governments to provide vital services.
Merchants and restaurant owners are trying hard to win your business. Last Sunday, downtown businesses and Main Street hosted a holiday open house that enticed customers with shopping specials and prizes. The downtown was full of people.
While it will be hard to replicate the days when people and cars filled downtown and stores were packed with customers right up to closing time on Christmas Eve, everyone can do their part by directing at least a portion of their holiday budget toward local merchants.
With Americans spending a trillion dollars on Christmas this year and more than one-third of shoppers planning to spend around $1,000, it’s easy to see why Christmas is still vital for many local merchants and restaurants.
Once people spend money with Amazon or at an out-of-town store, it has essentially evaporated, gone from the local economy to facilitate lower taxes, better schools and strong business environments in other places that are probably doing just fine.
The more we support each other, the healthier our community becomes. And there are plenty of practical considerations why shopping local and in-person is better and more fulfilling; being able to try on a pair of jeans or a top before you buy them, checking out some of the homemade gifts made by people right here in Carter County, and running into a friend and catching up over a coffee, and on and on.
Thanks to vaccines and boosters, it will be safer for many of us to gather with our families. And local businesses are happy to help make sure that your needs are taken care of when it comes to gifts for families and friends.
With all the headwinds local businesses have endured in our little rural corner of the world, spending at least a portion of your money here is one way to support a way of life that will fade year by year if we don’t look after each other. Let’s make sure that we all have a Merry Christmas by shopping locally.

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