‘Shop small’ a big deal

Christmas shopping at local businesses is a boon to the whole community


As we move past Halloween and forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping will begin in earnest for many families in East Central Illinois.

It’s no accident, then, that this year’s Christmas in Paris celebration on Saturday, Nov. 30, also falls on Small Business Saturday, which calls attention to the importance of shopping at the small businesses that serve as the backbone of the American economy and our local communities.

Each year, Christmas in Paris draws crowds to our local businesses with great deals on unique products and services, events that encourage shopping locally and unique experiences that introduces all to commonly valued neighbors.

Small Business Saturday aids small businesses by drawing attention to their importance in our economy. It also helps customers who want access to unique products and experiences in their community and local economies that benefit from successful small businesses.

Advertisers are vital to this newspaper. But they also are essential to the health and quality of life of our community. Buying locally and from national retailers with a presence here, supports local jobs and the tax dollars those workers and their employers generate.

For our larger retailers, the holiday season is especially important since their success starting on Black Friday can make or break their year. And unlike Internet-only transactions, shopping at stores here in Edgar County supports the home community.

The impact of local shopping dollars on our Edgar County community and the small- and medium-sized businesses that call it home is dramatic. Studies show when consumers buy locally, $68 of every $100 spent remains in the community, compared to $43 of every $100 for non-locally owned business. That’s one of the reasons we are cheering for shopping small throughout the holiday season and during Christmas in Paris.

Isn’t it time to join those who have discovered the great things local retailers have to offer? Shopping locally makes our community stronger and more vibrant.

We’re not asking readers to go cold turkey on cybershopping. But if one joins the masses who shop online, it doesn’t preclude supporting the stores in our community. There really is a place for all these retail assets in our holiday shopping experience.

For those who want to make a big impact here at home, make a point to include the job-growing local businesses owned by friends and neighbors who use local resources, employ local people and pay local taxes. When they thrive, it reduces the property tax burden on the rest of us.

That doesn’t happen with online shopping. Those online-only companies don’t pay local sales tax, give to local charities or sponsor Honor Flights for our heroes.

Besides, small is fun. These are the places stocked with one-of-a-kind finds. They offer personal service every day — as well as special deals and promotions to give shoppers a taste of what they’ve been missing.

We warn shop-small newbies, however, that it can become habit-forming. Small Business Saturday shoppers regularly tell pollsters the event inspires them to go to small, independently owned retailers they have not been to before — or would not have otherwise tried.

Give a gift to self and the community. Support the local retailers, restaurants and services supporting our friends and neighbors and local jobs, governments, schools, events and charities.