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|Shop locally; it matters|
The day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas holiday shopping season.
Commonly known as Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving also is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Retailers from coast to coast rely on Christmas holiday sales, including Black Friday sales, to tide them over during those lean months of the year when shoppers are few and far between.
With the national economy having performed rather poorly for the past couple of years, retailers stepped up efforts weeks ago to attract shoppers like never before. It was evident in light of the pre-Christmas sales offered by some large retailers. Some retailers are offering free shipping for online shoppers through Christmas.
Bargains can be found locally, too, at retail establishments owned and operated by local citizens.
That said, we encourage shoppers in northeast Louisiana to shop at home for the holidays. Though we have been exposed to the "shop at home" campaign for years, it is important to remember that shopping at home is vitally important to the economy in northeast Louisiana. When people shop locally with locally owned businesses, their money remains here, and those dollars circulate throughout the local economy for months and years to come.
People employed by locally owned businesses live in our communities, too. They spend their money here as well. They have families to feed and bills to pay.
Let us not forget that locally owned businesses often pay property taxes that support local governments—municipalities, public school systems, parish governing bodies, law enforcement and on and on. Locally owned businesses also collect sales taxes from customers, and those revenues help finance government services that we rely upon daily.
We do not fault holiday shoppers for hunting for the best deals possible to stretch their hard-earned dollars as far as they can be stretched. In fact, we encourage shoppers to spend wisely.
However, holiday shoppers need to recognize that locally owned businesses located in their communities sell the same products as the large chain stores in communities elsewhere. Locally owned businesses sell those products at reasonable prices, too.