Every year in the United States, images of people flooding big box retailers for Black Friday deals can be seen on television and other media.

As the countdown to Black Friday begins, it’s important to remember the importance of shopping local. 

The concept is about more than benefiting area businesses.

Supporting local businesses helps drive the local economy. This means more jobs are available for people. Plus, every dollar spent locally has a better chance of staying local, where it will be spent again and benefit other businesses.

Supporting local commerce obviously helps bolster the regional economy, which in turn supports a healthier, more vibrant community as a whole.

It also helps provide necessities in the public sector.

The holiday season can make or break the fiscal year for local communities.

If local sales tax revenue drops too far, it could result in property tax rates having to be raised, or in government services being cut.

When sales tax numbers are down, it means that fewer items are being sold and less money is being spent.

The months of November and December are the most important time of the year for the majority of merchants. By buying things locally, people help area businesses thrive, secure local jobs and spur economic growth.

Keeping local retailers viable is also a challenge in the face of online options, which are also harmful to the local economy. While the online retail world may have seemingly infinite options, it also has some limitations. Returning a product can be a hassle when purchased online. Also, shipping, especially during the holiday season, can be unpredictable with items showing up after they are needed.

There have been several businesses open in the region during the past couple of years that have added to the assortment of consumer goods available in south central Utah. Also, most local merchants have the ability to special order items that may not be on store shelves.

As consumers make an effort to shop locally, merchants have a responsibility to do their part to draw people into their stores. Friendly, competent and efficient help for customers as well as fair and competitive prices should be the hallmark of area retailers.

Locally based customer service is the primary advantage area retailers have, so that is where they need to focus their efforts. By providing the convenience of location with top-notch service, merchants can guarantee that local customers’ wants and needs are met.

By shopping local, people are not only helping to secure the future of the area business community, but also showing civic pride. 

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