Keep the home fires burning

Published 4:39 pm Friday, November 29, 2019

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Christmas is coming and local merchants and local towns need your support.

Many towns in the Roanoke-Chowan area are holding Christmas parades in the coming weeks, beginning this morning (Saturday; 10 a.m.) in Conway. These events are typically organized and/or sponsored by volunteers.

The parades are positive holiday touches, especially for the young ones, which help induce that sluggish holiday spirit.

And, don’t forget that local merchants need your business. While there’s no doubt that many people will take trips to the big cities for some Christmas shopping, if you can get it locally, please do so.

When you shop locally, you support a local business owner and you help keep local people employed. Shopping in Norfolk or Greenville or Raleigh means you’re taking money, and possibly jobs, from this area.

You’re also putting your tax dollars to work elsewhere. Shopping locally keeps sales tax money here locally, which increases the share our local counties receive back form the state. A series of studies by the research firm Civic Economics found that 48 percent of purchases at local independent businesses go right back into the community, compared to less than 14 percent of sales made at chain stores. Those locally generated sales tax dollars serve as the base funding for public services, better schools, and libraries.

Today (Nov. 30) is Small Business Saturday – a day set aside to celebrate the numerous “mom-and-pop” shops that serve as the economic foundation within communities across America. Stuck between two other major shopping events – Black Friday and Cyber Monday – Small Business Saturday is equally important to those who have made a retail investment by opening a store and hiring workers within a community.

According to the Small Business Administration, the 28 million small businesses in America account for 54 percent of all sales in the U.S. Plus small businesses have provided 55 percent of all jobs and 66 percent of all new jobs since the 1970s. When you make a purchase at a small business, you are doing your part to stimulate the local economy.

Sure, we all love and go to the mainstream retailers, but can you imagine what it would be like to live in a place with nothing but non-descript strip malls? By participating in Small Business Saturday, we’re making sure independent businesses thrive by adding to the vibrancy and uniqueness of a community. It would be tough for the trinkets shop or the mom and pop deli around the corner to stay afloat without your patronage.

As you prepare for Christmas, make every effort to shop locally and support local holiday events for the economic health and spirit of the area.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald