Archive for Thursday, December 18, 2003

Our view: The reasons to shop locally are many

December 18, 2003

As the jingle bells ring-ring-a-ling, signaling the approaching holiday, it's important to think about whether local cash registers are ringing this holiday season.

Local merchants are under increasing pressure from bigger -- and, in the minds of some, better -- stores in the region.

Anyone who's ever lived in a small town where a large box store has opened its doors can testify what happens. It's not a Christmas story.

The small, mom-and-pop stores close. Often times, it begins with the hardware store. And then, the local variety store succumbs. Next are specialty shops that help give a community its flavor.

Empty storefronts, which don't generate many tax dollars for the city or county, dot the town. But vehicles fill the empty spaces in the larger store's parking lot.

As local shoppers abandon them, small retailers often can't survive.

And that's a shame for many reasons.

These local business owners hire local people. These local business owners and their local employees pay local taxes -- on their store building, on their homes, on their vehicles. These local business owners support local projects. These local business owners try to buy locally, if possible, because they're acutely aware of what happens when they don't.

Money generated by buying locally stays in the community.

It is locally owned businesses that keep a community afloat. It is those same locally owned businesses that enhance the atmosphere of a community and that ensure its vibrancy.

So as shoppers scamper around, purchasing those last-minute items on their Christmas list, it would benefit the entire community if those shoppers would try to shop locally.

Understandably, retailers in Tonganoxie simply cannot stock the merchandise that national retailers can. But it's worthwhile to think about the cost of driving to that national retailer's store. And it's worthwhile to think about the cost to Tonganoxie.

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