Shop locally this Christmas

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, it's time to start thinking about Christmas. One of my first tasks involves making a list of gifts I need to purchase for family and friends. I love Christmas shopping and there's nothing that gets me in the holiday spirit more than making a list and checking it twice - just like Santa.

This year, I want to encourage our readers to shop locally for as many of their Christmas gifts as possible. It's been tough economically for us all, and small business owners have been hit especially hard by a stagnant economy. Christmas is a make-or-break time for many of our local shops, and I'd love to help make our merchants' Christmas wishes come true by enticing lots of shoppers to visit their stores over the next few weeks.

When you shop locally, you are not only helping local business owners, you are helping the entire community. Barry County, the City of Cassville and other surrounding towns depend on sales tax revenue to fund the services they offer to local citizens. The sheriff's office, police departments, public works departments and parks are all funded by local sales tax revenue. The county and the city do not collect property tax. Their budgets depend solely on sales tax revenue and fees for services. So the more you spend locally, the more your county and city governments have to spend on services that enhance your quality of life.

It's also important to community growth that local business districts remain vibrant. Who wants to relocate to a town with a deserted downtown or a shabby business district? In all the recent discussions centering around downtown revitalization through the DREAM initiative, it has been stated on numerous occassions that finding ways to entice people to shop locally is an important component of any marketing plan for Cassville.

If you haven't shopped at one of our local stores lately, this Saturday is the perfect time to get out and see all they have to offer. Makes plans to shop Cassville during the day before you claim your spot for Cassville's night-time Christmas parade. And if you are tempted to think the local stores don't have what you need, think again and get creative. I took advantage of the Christmas open houses before Thanksgiving and came home with several bags of gifts as well as Christmas decorations for my house.

And if you really don't know what to get that hard-to-buy-for family member, a gift certificate to a local restaurant is always a great idea or maybe consider making a donation to the Cassville Share Your Christmas campaign in their honor. There's plenty of options available if you plan ahead and think "local, local, local." Happy shopping.

Lisa Schlichtman