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Shop where you want, but remember where you live this Yuletime

With Cyber Monday behind us and the holiday shopping season still in force, it’s a good time to consider one’s options in buying locally. Shopping locally certainly doesn’t mean one cannot shop online, however. There are plenty of businesses in the Tri-state region that offer online goods and services of all kinds. So what, really, does shopping locally mean? Must one purchase any holiday item at the town center nearest one’s residence? Is it disloyal to travel 15 miles away, to larger town centers, to find the right gifts for all? Isn’t the concept we all must grasp more about where the money goes that we spend at any retail entity?On the most basic level, if we want certain businesses or service providers to survive, we have to spend money with them. The judgment needs to be one we carry with us all year long, not just in December. We like to shop at farmers markets, and feel that we are doing the right thing when we do, since we’re supporting area growers. So let’s take that idea and apply it to all our buying patterns.A quick glance around the town centers of the Northwest Corner and the Tri-state area right now reveals a good showing for storefront businesses. There are fewer vacant shops than had been the case in the early years of the recession. So think about shopping with them, but also remember those businesses you value that are off the beaten path and might take some thought and planning to support. Check online before driving to them, and it is quite possible there will be an option for online purchasing.The money spent at these businesses remains in the area at a higher percentage than money spent at the big chain stores and has a more immediate effect on the local economy. However, large chains such as Walmart, Kmart and Stop & Shop employ people from all over the region, and any business that provides a good number of jobs locally deserves some support. A real balance in consumption is necessary to support and maintain the economic fabric of our region. Have a good holiday season, and think about your neighbors who run businesses as you decide what and where to buy.

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