Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2012, 6:00 am
Editorial: Shop, think locally
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The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus
We know how busy you are today.
If you've just grabbed today's paper off a darkened stoop, you may be getting ready to sally forth and brave what we fervently hope are huge crowds for a Black Friday of holiday shopping.
Or maybe you're taking a quiet moment alone with your laptop, perusing QCOnline.com, your aching feet on the ottoman, and a soothing cup of tea in hand, at the end of a busy day at the mall or one of the Quad-Cities many big-box stores.
In that case, more shopping may be the very last thing you wish to think about. We urge you, however, to fight the impulse and plan tomorrow to lace up your sneakers once again to observe Small Business Saturday.
While it's important to the national economy, our local community, and these newspapers, that major retailers do well on Black Friday, the success of local and small businesses is even more vital to the economic health and quality of life of our community.
That's important to consider, not just on the eve of this year's Small Business Saturday, but throughout the holiday season. The reasons remain compelling. We've outlined them before, but they're worth repeating this year and every year:
-- Small businesses are job-creating machines. In the last 20 years, they created 65 percent of net new jobs in America. The money you spend in your community stays there. Various studies show that when consumers choose to spend locally, $68 of every $100 spent remains in the community compared to $43 of every $100 for non-locally owned business.
-- Local businesses use local resources, they employ local people and pay local taxes. When they thrive, it reduces the property tax burden on the rest of us.
-- Homegrown retailers and businesses support the things in your community like schools, police and fire protection, clean water and garbage collection. That doesn't happen when you shop online. And those companies also don't pay local sales tax or give to local charities.
-- Indeed, local business owners and their families always are among our community's most active cheerleaders and generous donors of money, goods and services.
The Quad-Cities is fortunate to have a wide range of stores to choose from, the big box retailers who carry a wide variety of items to the local and specialty stores with one-of-a-kind hard-to-find gifts. If you don't sample the local inventory, you'll miss out on many unique local bargains such as Isabel Bloom's unique figurines, Lagomarcino's marvelous confections, certificates for pampering at local salons and spas.
The possibilities are endless and they are all right here, in the community and often can be tailored to your gift recipient's specific needs by local merchants happy to help. What could be more personal than a locally purchased present carefully chosen with the recipient alone in mind?
Our message is not entirely altruistic, of course. Your newspaper has a huge stake in the success of Quad-Cities retailers -- our advertisers. We are proud of the support they give us and the service they provide to you. The newspaper you're holding in your hands or the website you're reading wouldn't be possible without their advertising dollars.
So, when faced with a choice of whether to buy an item online, at a shop out of town or locally, we urge you to pick the local merchant. Remember, too, many of them have convenient Websites, too. Just Google them.
Local businesses are the lifeblood of our community. Reward them for supporting the Quad-Cities by supporting them. Shop locally this Saturday, throughout the holiday season and all year.