Shop locally

Published 11:13 am Friday, November 21, 2008

By Staff
Catherine Glover, executive director of the Washington/Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce, hit the nail on the head with her column two Sundays ago.
Whenever possible, area folks should shop locally, and especially so during the Christmas season and other holiday periods that occur at this time of the year. Although the nation’s current economic situation may mean that many people won’t have as much disposable income this Christmas season as in recent Christmas seasons, area folks should try to shop locally as much as possible. As much as possible, spend money at your neighbors’ shops and businesses.
If there is something that cannot be bought locally, then feel free to purchase that item somewhere else.
By purchasing items locally, the money one spends remains in the community. Local merchants should use the money they receive from area residents to buy as much of their goods as possible from area suppliers. Buying goods from local merchants helps those merchants support local charities, schools and community-service programs.
Many merchants count on the Christmas season — the last quarter of each year — as the time of the year they make a significant part of their incomes. For some merchants, the Christmas season determines if they will make a profit or be in the red at the end of the year.
Buying locally also helps counties, cities and towns provide more and improved services and programs for their residents. The more sales in a county, city or town, the more revenue that county, city or town receives from sales taxes. When sales are up, so are revenues from sales taxes. That means counties, cities and towns have more money to pay for more and improved services and programs. When sales that could be made locally are made elsewhere, it is the local county, city or town that loses revenue from sales taxes. With a decline in sales-tax revenue, a county, city or town has less money to spend on services and programs.
Milchen’s piece points out that buying locally and doing business locally help build a strong local economy.
Buying locally supports local merchants who support many community events. For example, Washington merchants and business owners help plan events such as Summer Festival, the city’s Fourth of July celebration, Music in the Streets and Smoke on the Water. Their support of the community deserves to be repaid by the community supporting them.
Whether it’s a mom-and-pop shop downtown or a “big-box” retailer at the shopping center, try to do much of your shopping locally. The community, which includes those businesses, their owners and their workers, will benefit in more ways than just a financial way.