Holidays great time to support local merchants

Published 6:00 am Monday, November 24, 2008

Although falling gasoline prices are a welcome sight and maketravel much more affordable, a declining economy should encouragecitizens to resist the urge to trek to metropolitan areas andtherefore stay closer to home to shop this holiday season.

Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the unofficial startof the holiday buying season. For years it was considered thebusiest shopping day of the year, but that honor now has shifted tothe weekend before Christmas.

Regardless of when you do your shopping, we would like to jointhe chorus of community officials, merchants and others inencouraging you to shop locally when doing your holiday buying. Inthis tough economy, the importance of doing so is apparent forseveral reasons.

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Shopping locally supports our merchant friends andneighbors.

Those local merchants in turn pay sales tax, a portion of whichcomes back to the city to help pay for important functions andservices like police and fire protection or street paving. When weshop elsewhere, those tax dollars are sent to those metropolitanareas to pay for things there.

The more sales tax dollars our local communities can receivefrom local support, the less leaders will have to look in otherplaces – like property taxes – to generate needed operationalfunds.

With some exceptions, there is no need for local shoppers toleave this area to make purchases. Southwest Mississippi’s retailofferings are growing and many local merchants are willing to helpshoppers in any way possible.

One local merchant, who is participating in The DAILY LEADER’sHometown Christmas promotion, extolled the retail offerings andadvantages available to Brookhaven shoppers.

“(There’s) no place like Brookhaven to shop,” said FinishingTouch owner LaDonna Carrollo. “I don’t know why anyone would goanywhere else.”

During last week’s chamber of commerce banquet, the shop at hometheme was evident.

“We appreciate your Christmas shopping, and when you make yourdecisions we hope you’ll think about the businesses that supportedour children’s athletic teams, bought ads in the yearbooks,supported the civic groups and donated their time to thecommunity,” said Rob McCreary, outgoing chamber president.”Fifty-six percent of Brookhaven’s general fund comes from salestax, and we as a community need to make an effort to shop athome.”

In economic development, the saying goes is that the next bestthing to a new industry locating in your community is for one tolocate in a neighboring one. The same holds true in the area ofshopping.

By keeping shopping dollars in Southwest Mississippi, the area’sprofile increases and makes it more attractive to larger retailerswho may choose to locate here.

The point is shopping locally helps merchants locally, as goodspurchased locally are investments in ourselves. Citizens would dowell to remember that during this upcoming holiday shopping seasonand during the rest of the year.