This holiday season, support hometown businesses


Tens of millions of Americans will do most, if not all, their holiday season shopping with giant online retail operations this year. They will argue that it is more convenient or safer for them to do so rather than patronize local brick-and-mortar stores.

Local retailers, from mom-and-pop specialty shops to the big-box stores, rely on Christmas shoppers for significant chunks of the revenue that keeps them open year-round. If they have a bad holiday shopping season, they suffer terribly. Some many not survive long into the new year.

So what? Well, put on your thinking cap for a moment.

How many local residents work for one of those online retail giants? In all likelihood, none. Yet thousands of our friends, family members and neighbors rely on local stores to put bread and butter on the table.

What portion of local taxes — supporting our schools, public safety and dozens of other local government services — are paid by online operations? Again, you guessed it: None, unless local sales taxes net a few pennies from online retailers.

And what happens when we need donations to support worthwhile local initiatives ranging from youth baseball to helping the needy at Christmas? Don’t bother asking the online operations for a contribution. Although there may be some exceptions, the e-commerce giants do not have a reputation for supporting such local efforts.

Local retailers — many of whom have their own websites, by the way — are the very lifeblood of our communities. In a very real way, they are us.

Don’t let online retailers be the Grinch who stole Christmas from them — and thus, our communities. Shop at home. On Dec. 25, the knowledge you have supported local retailers will make your Christmas brighter.

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