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Shop locally this holiday season

Small Business Saturday is a great time to find the perfect gift

The Christmas season is officially here. Shoppers will be on the hunt for the perfect gift for everyone on their shopping list. Some will decide that it’s easier to forgo merchants in the community to click order gifts from online sources.

They are mistaken. There are many good reasons to shop locally, especially on Small Business Saturday tomorrow.

Small Business Saturday is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year.

First and foremost is that those with the most success in finding those perfect gifts often find them at local stores – where they can look at, touch, try out and perhaps even taste or smell the merchandise. There is no disappointment in learning that online picture was not quite accurate or that the color is not quite right or the “super, gigantic, king-size” description was, shall we say, just a bit exaggerated.

Need help? A second opinion, perhaps? Local stores are full of salespeople eager to assist with the most honest assessments they can provide. They hope you’ll come back, after all.

Your gift wasn’t quite right for the recipient and needs to be returned, perhaps exchanged? No problem at local stores.

But there are other reasons to visit local stores that, whether you know it or not, patronize you in a big way.

They pay taxes to our communities, counties and states, helping to ensure our schools stay open, our streets are maintained and a host of other government services are funded. Online retailers pay no property taxes here.

And there is the matter of supporting worthy causes. In one way or another – often more generously than their customers know – most local stores contribute. It may be to sponsor the local youth soccer team, to provide door prizes for a benefit to help a sick child, or assist the volunteer fire department. It may be to provide a discount to organizations buying gifts or food for the needy. Or it may be in direct cash donations to charities.

Try calling an online retailer and asking for a donation.

There is another very important reason to do your Christmas shopping locally. How many of your neighbors work at the Internet-only store in California?

Many local residents depend on local stores for employment.

There are many excellent reasons why so many of your neighbors, friends and family members do their Christmas shopping locally – and why you should, too.

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