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Editorial 615

Missy Layfield - Editor

Shop Local

The weekend after Thanksgiving has just about risen to the level of being it’s own holiday. A unique American holiday devoted to spending money.

It all started with the Friday after Thanksgiving, now known as Black Friday. At one time getting a 6am start on holiday shopping was early enough, but no more. This year, several stores are starting Black Friday sales on Thursday, which would make them Thanksgiving Day sales.

Stay tuned because the way this is going, soon, Black Friday is going to start on Wednesday. Or maybe we’ll just skip that pesky Halloween to Thanksgiving period and start them on November 1st.

Seriously, a good portion of the retail world depends on holiday shopping at the end of the year to boost their bottom line. Black Friday came first. Then came Cyber Monday when online businesses noticed an increase in orders that day, as workers returned to their offices and computers after the Thanksgiving weekend. Back in the old days, many people had computers only at work. Online companies jumped on this opportunity and began promoting online sales on Cyber Monday.

Lost in all this shopping frenzy focused on big box stores and online merchants are the local small business. Decades ago, as retail business was migrating from small local stores to malls and big box stores, the "shop local” effort was born, with varying degrees of success.

Now comes Small Business Saturday, promoted by American Express. Situated between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local.

What a great idea!

We’re bombarded by TV and radio ads to shop at the big stores or online, it’s refreshing to see an effort to draw people back into their own community to shop.

Islanders know how important supporting their own community is to the health of the community. Sure, we’d like to draw visitors and shoppers to our island from far and wide, but the base of our business enterprise is local support.

We recognize this during the summer months when visitors thin out. We should remember it now during the holiday shopping season.

Everybody says they want to support their local community. But how?

Buy from local businesses. It’s as easy as that. Even if you commit to buying half of your holiday purchases locally, you will be making a huge difference.

Our own Beach community has an abundance of shopping options; most of them don’t even require going over the bridge. Right here in our community, you can give the experience of a sunset cruise or a Paddleboarding lesson; a day fishing or a day at the spa; a kayak tour or a jet-ski experience; a massage or a mani-pedi; an oil change or a house cleaning.

If you want to wrap up a gift, check out any of our excellent gift stores. They’re filled with unique and clever gifts that you won’t find in the big box stores. We have clothing stores, jewelry stores, hardware stores and ship’s stores.

All of them would really appreciate your business this holiday season.

We also have a collection of very interesting bars and restaurants, most of which sell even more interesting and colorful t-shirts. Consider giving your brother-in-law the beginnings of a beach bar t-shirt collection. Then you’ve got this year and several years in the future all taken care of. He’ll love it!

So before you succumb to the allure of the crazy pricing on the big box loss leaders, stop and put a price on the importance of supporting local businesses.

You can skip the dawn shopping patrol this holiday season and saunter into a local store to pick out a truly unique gift for those on your list. Doesn’t that sound much more pleasant?

And when you need to take a break from all that shopping, take a break and enjoy a local meal here on the beach, watch a sunset and remember to tip that hard-working local server-now that’s keeping your spending local!

Check out our December Entertainment Magazine where you’ll find a list of everything that’s going on here on the beach in December. You’ll also see some of our local businesses featuring gift ideas for your holiday shopping.

Shop local – this week and every week!

Missy Layfield