One of the biggest challenges today is finding and preserving jobs. We do this by supporting local businesses, big and small, that hire people in our communities. For many businesses, that rely largely on the Christmas season’s revenue, this year’s profits may make or break their chances for survival. Small businesses, especially, are hanging on by a thread, and it is up to their friends and neighbors to help them out.
Tragically, many towns and cities have more empty storefronts right now than they have had for decades. Small businesses are struggling to compete with the big name stores, and consequently, going out of business, taking many jobs with them. Not only are they taking jobs, they are taking the tax base that many of our cities and towns rely on. Even big box stores and fast food restaurants suffer, and sometimes close, when other companies go out. The chain reaction effect spreads quickly through areas when people lose their jobs, move away, or simply cannot afford to support local businesses. On the other hand when the economy in an area picks up, more businesses are encouraged to move into the area, bringing with them more jobs.
The internet, and the ability to order online is a convenience, but it has also contributed to the lack of local shopping. Where we once went from store to store, choosing our presents in person, we now wait for them to arrive at the door.
Traditionally, the local stores were specialty shops, that dealt with everything from shoes to sporting goods, to electronics. While they are decreasing in numbers, some are still struggling to compete, and this year, they will probably be offering more incentives than normal to entice customers to buy. Local craft and specialty shops offer unique and unusual items that you may not be able to get anywhere else.
There is still nothing like shopping in person for Christmas gifts. You can see what you are getting, determine how well it is made, and comparison shop for the best deals. You can also return it directly to the store, if for some reason the recipient doesn’t like it, or it is the wrong size, brand, or model.
In the long run, every time you buy locally, it is a win, win, solution. You are supporting the economy of your community. You are protecting your job and your neighbor’s, and, you are promoting the survival of your town or city.