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Editorial: Shop local effort needs our support


With the arrival of Black Friday and the frenzy of shopping it has created, many of us are off hunting for bargains and putting into place their shopping route strategy. That strategy might include scouring newspaper ads and inserts, and planning which stores to visit and at what time.

Will the store run out of items before I get there? Which item is a must-have and should be secured first?

We hope that included in this hunt-and-gather strategy is a plan to visit local stores to offer them your support. Like any other retailer, they depend upon the holiday season to get them through the lean months.

That is why we hope residents will support Small Business Saturday tomorrow and the shop local concept throughout the coming weeks of increased shopping.

Like their bigger counterparts, local stores are offering a multitude of sales. One retailer said the sale is a way for his store to thank people for their patronage throughout the year.

Small Business Saturday is a movement started and sponsored by American Express to urge Americans to buy locally. American Express has been paying to advertise the day since it began in 2010. It is a marketing campaign with a big heart. It reminds us that charity really does start at home.

Vacant storefronts are a drain on the local economy and an eyesore. Thriving small businesses provide local jobs, a wonderful sense of community and a sense of vitality.

Small Business Saturday reminds us of that, and the importance of keeping our money circulating in our communities.

The Westerly-Pawcatuck Chamber of Commerce has been promoting the event since mid-November. Executive Director Lisa Konicki said that the chamber is hoping for a larger turnout this year than in the two previous years.

As an incentive, the chamber will give away $10 gift certificates to 20 different customers spotted at local cash registers on Saturday. Customers can win a gift card through different criteria, such as being the first two paying customers wearing a holiday hat, or the first paying customer to show a Christmas list.

The gift cards further promote the campaign because they can be used at any one of participating chamber member stores. They might also be an incentive to some shoppers to explore stores they have not yet explored.

In Mystic, Patricia Walsh, president of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce, said that in addition to creating “a huge amount of buzz,” the effort also fuels pride among the small businesses.

Shopping locally has many benefits, the least of which is that it cuts down on driving and often, long lines at the register. A savings in time and sanity has to have some value. There are wonderful shops throughout our area offering a diversity of goods that can’t always be found elsewhere. Purchasing a holiday gift from even one of them will go a long way to supporting the campaign.

If everyone joins in, that would be the greatest holiday gift of all.



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