Black Friday is behind us, Cyber Monday dead ahead and the nation has officially kicked off the most commercial time of the year.
With Christmas a month away, retailers are hoping to hear the jingle of cash register bells at a frenzied pace over the next four weeks, hoping for evidence to support the contention that the national economic picture may be improving slightly, and as a result consumers may be willing to part with more of their money.
It’s easy to get caught up in the commercialism of the season, and just as easy to bemoan it. But reality is that for many businesses, the dollars entered into the ledger on the receivables side this time of year mean the difference between making a profit and closing the doors for good.
As you do your holiday season shopping this year, we hope that you will pause to consider not just the bargains you may find, but also where it is that you are spending your money.
The truth is, the economic malaise from which we have suffered the past few years has been particularly tough on small, locally owned businesses, those whose profit margins may be slim in the best of times.
And we need those businesses.
Sure it’s easy to shop online, where the convenience of making a purchase without ever having to leave home has become a holiday habit for many.
And we all appreciate the big inventory and occasionally super discounts available from chain retailers that more often than not provide the anchors around which local retail centers are built.
But we can’t afford to forget the privately owned, independent businesses that form the true economic backbone of most communities. These are the businesses that support our kids athletic endeavors, partner with local schools with badly needed donations, give to area charities and churches, donate time and again to worthy causes, and are there to help when called upon.
Unlike online retailers, locally owned businesses pay property taxes to local governments, and collect local sales taxes that finance so many public endeavors. They also provide jobs here in our community for people we know.
Small, locally owned businesses give a community a sense of identity, and without our support they are going to disappear.
When we need a business to purchase an ad in a high school football program, donate an item for a charity auction, hang a poster to promote an upcoming event or write a check to a philanthropic cause, more often than not we turn to small, locally owned businesses to make it happen.
For those businesses to be there when we need them, we need to be there when they need us. That time is now, during the most wonderful shopping time of the year.