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Shopping in hometown makes sense (and cents)

The Christmas shopping season is officially under way. If Fridaysales are any indication, area merchants will be busy the next fewweeks. We hope so.

As we do every holiday season — and all year long — weencourage Southwest Mississippi residents to give merchants andbusinesses in their hometowns the first opportunity to earn theirshopping dollars. There are lots of reasons to do so.

When you spend your dollars locally, some of them will stay andsome will eventually make their way back home. When you shoplocally, the dollars you spend help pay the salaries of yourfamily, friends and neighbors.

When merchants turn in their sales tax collections to the state,18.5 percent of the total is returned to their respective city tohelp provide services and to address other needs. Those sales taxdollars, in turn, help keep down other taxes and fees. That’s goodfor everybody.

There is also what is known as the “leakage factor.” That refersto the number of times a dollar changes hands locally before it is”leaked” out to another community. While economists differ onrates, generally one dollar that is generated locally turns overnine times in the community before leaving. A dollar that isbrought in from out of town turns over four times before going onto another community. That means a Brookhaven dollar that is spentin Brookhaven has $9 worth of economic impact on the community. Atourist’s dollar contributes $4 of impact to the city’seconomy.

On the flip side of that, dollars taken out of local communitiesand spent elsewhere go to improve infrastructure and help citizensin those towns. Or, look at it this way: If you spend your money inJackson or Hattiesburg or New Orleans, you’re helping to buildroads and schools in those towns. Wouldn’t you rather help your owncommunity?

We also think there’s another excellent reason to shop locally.You get better service from people you know. If you think you can’tfind what you need without going to the big city, ask a local storemanager if the item is available. Chances are very good it can beordered.

Shopping locally is good for everybody. Please spend your moneywith local merchants. They’ll appreciate it, and your communitywill benefit.