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Shopping locally good way to assist community

Shoppers across the area and nation Fridayfilled stores and other retail establishments for “Black Friday,”the traditional start of the holiday shopping season.

    Shoppers hopefully were enticed to open their wallets and spendmoney, which in turn will provide a big economic boost forretailers and their local communities. Many bargain hunters willtake to the Internet this week in pursuit of “Cyber Monday”sales.

    In the midst of all the anticipated buying and spending – both thisweekend and throughout the holiday season – one sector of theretail establishment should not be forgotten. That sector is smallbusinesses.

    Reminding citizens of the role those local merchants play in theeconomic machine was the focus of yesterday’s “Small BusinessSaturday.” The national effort is part of a campaign supported bythe U.S. Small Business Administration.

    “People supporting each other is what we’re all about in thiscountry, and no one does that better than the small business ownerwho buys from the local farmer, sells to the local patron and hiresthe local employee,” said Michael Chodos, associate administratorof SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development. “These people aretaking care of each other every day in America and supporting themis a privilege.”

    It’s also just a good, community-minded thing to do.

    Consider that in addition to the ripple effects mentioned above,local small businesses collect sales tax on purchases made at theirestablishments.  A portionof that sales tax revenue comes back to the communities from whichthe dollars originated.

    That money then can be used by municipal leaders toward paying forstreet work, police and fire protection, recreational opportunitiesor a variety of other services cities are expected to offer. Havingfunds from sales tax available helps keep other government servicefees and taxes from being any higher than necessary.

    Local residents understand this economic dynamic.

    Despite a significant monthly dip due to an payment oversight theprevious month, the most recent sales tax totals show Brookhavenranking second in the area in year-to-date collections withapproximately $1.67 million. With an increase of more than $16,000,that indicates an almost 1 percent rise over the same period in2010.

    Citizens shopping locally – and more specifically with our locallyowned stores – during the holiday season will only help thosenumbers improve. And that will make for a happy new year for usall.