Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Give our local shops a shot

11/22/2013

Local merchants are kicking off the Christmas shopping season this weekend with “Super Saturday.” The concept is to encourage consumers to shop locally for special deals in advance of their inevitable trip out of town to shop at big box specialty stores with corporate-backed, deep discounts. Many local merchants have knocked down prices and rolled out special deals to entice shoppers to get a head start on shopping at the most convenient and friendly places to buy presents — locally in their hometown.

A recent survey of 1,000 Americans said 9 percent of respondents already had finished their holiday shopping, which means more than 90 percent still had plenty of store searching ahead of them.

Local merchants are kicking off the Christmas shopping season this weekend with “Super Saturday.” The concept is to encourage consumers to shop locally for special deals in advance of their inevitable trip out of town to shop at big box specialty stores with corporate-backed, deep discounts. Many local merchants have knocked down prices and rolled out special deals to entice shoppers to get a head start on shopping at the most convenient and friendly places to buy presents — locally in their hometown.

A recent survey of 1,000 Americans said 9 percent of respondents already had finished their holiday shopping, which means more than 90 percent still had plenty of store searching ahead of them.

While other respondents to the Rasmussen Report said they had at least started shopping, more than 60 percent indicated they had not even begun to make their Chirstmas purchases. That means local merchants still have an opportunity to capture that business. While some people might shop online, just 3 percent of respondents indicated they would do all of their shopping online. Americans clearly still enjoy shopping at brick-and-mortar stores to see and touch the merchandise before making a purchase, as well as seeking the counsel of retailers to assist them in their buying decisions.

Those businesses, of course, aren’t just offering good values for one day; they’ll be doing it again on “Small Business Saturday” — Nov. 30 — and all the days leading up to Christmas. Dec. 21 — the final Saturday preceding the Christmas holiday — no doubt will be a whirlwind of sales activity as last-minute shoppers begin their sojourns to merchants’ doors. The season is a make-it-or-break-it time for retailers, so consumers are impacting not only this year’s retail sales with their buying decisions, but those in the future too. A poor Christmas season might lead to some retailers deciding to close up for good or to alter their business away from the traditional bricks-and-mortar business model.

Local merchants are the ones who support our community’s non-profit organizations that benefit hometown residents, so shopping local helps in a number of ways. One of the biggest benefits to the community of shopping local is its boost for the economy. That yields more jobs and a more diverse tax base to help pay for such local public services as roads, sidewalks, parks, law enforcement, fire protection and more. Buying from local merchants can be a better value too because it saves time, gas and money. There’s a good chance shoppers will have more flexibility to get special orders and have to endure less waiting in line too.

Who doesn’t appreciate shopping with a merchant who gives back to the community in so many other ways? If consumers haven’t given local merchants a shot at learning their names from shopping at their business, now — Super Saturday — is the time.

 

— Jeanny Sharp,

editor and publisher

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