What are you doing November 26? Holiday shopping? Instead of patronizing big box stores and mega-malls, please consider paying a visit to your small local merchants. They are the backbone of our economy, friends and neighbors trying to make a living and a difference in their communities. They also provide jobs. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses created 65 percent of the country’s net new jobs over the past 20 years. The dollars you spend inevitably find their way back into your village, town or city through employee payrolls or when small merchants themselves shop, pay their taxes or reinvest in their businesses. It’s a win-win scenario, don’t you think?
If you are fortunate enough to live in or near a walkable neighborhood, picture yourself enjoying the sights and sounds of the holiday season as you meander from shop to shop, perhaps stopping at a coffee shop for a quick cup of whatever warms you (or cools you, depending on your location). Small businesses preserve their neighborhoods’ unique sense of place, a sense of place that no mall or big box store can claim. Those of you who live in a rural or suburban area, is there such a neighborhood in a nearby community? Try it, instead of automatically turning your car into the nearest WalMart parking lot.